Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Rask (W)
Habs goalscorers: Gallagher, Subban
Opposition goalscorers:Soderberg, Smith, Iginla, Eriksson
Brendan Gallagher's determination knows no bounds. If you have lost faith in your team. Don't. This guy is on it. Who can get crunched to the point of near injury and shake it off to score the most important goal of the season to this point for the Habs: the goal that said: we will live on past this. Gallagher. The question is no longer how can we get Pacioretty going, but how can we get Gallagher away from players that sap his chances with cheesy shots. What was sweeter than Glen Healy complaining like the pathetic anti-Canadiens figure for an interference call on this goal. There's life yet.
Brendan Gallagher - Game PuckLet's face it, Brendan wasn't fending many off for this puck. It seems most players other than he had some major mishaps. He himself was credited with 3 dreaded giveaways. The difference with Brendan is there is no spiral, only the engine that moves constantly in the direction of victory. He can not do it alone. if he gets some help, the Habs will play on. As I mentioned, his goal was a thing of beauty.
Lars EllerEller really is making the case that his playoff self can sustain a level that is seldom seen during a season (certainly this past one). Once again, he gives fits to Boston and caused two penalty calls from referees very reluctant to hand out PPs. His penalty drawn in the second period was the lifeline that in my opinion ended up keeping the Canadiens season alive. ope would have been properly crushed with another shutout at just the wrong time. Surely, it is his strength that helps him keep plays alive. Can he learn in mere hours some extra sense of his teammates? We've seen this before once. With Eller can you ever really count it out?
Max PaciorettyI don't agree with Don Cherry that Max Pacioretty will have to score sooner or later based on volume of shots alone. The quality of his efforts must improve, some are truly awful, giveaway variety attempts. Yet, the night was full of those shots from all corners. I did glimpse one or two good things from Pacioretty. He even nearly used his size at one point. OK, not great, but it was that kind of game.
PK SubbanHis heroics at the end left more than a few Bruins fans thanking the league for the 20 minute period. 5 minutes longer, and this force of nature might have scored three more. The Vezina goalie is found ducking once again against his seemingly covered slap shot. The reservation with Subban is this: why so late. Perhaps, he's had it coached out of him. But any Canadiens fan worth his salt knew the Canadiens needed the second goal of this game at least. The things he did at the end were not there at the beginning. Look, I don't want a reckless player who casts caution to the wind 10 minutes into a tight contest. But this was the regular season champs in Boston in a game where they were starting to feel pretty good about themselves. Someone had to make the mark earlier. Subban seems the only one talented enough to actually do that. I know he will be there tomorrow. Further, I know his instincts will take over in the less cushy elimination scenario. He'll be the star of the night. But for my nerves, oh my nerves...
Andrei MarkovA surprisingly positive game from Markov. He makes two simple feeds to claim assists -- we all know how important his work leading up to those opportunities on PPs is. He nearly held a clean sheet also, but for an uncharacteristic rebound that can't be marked against the General. Like Subban, I think Markov needed to somehow rally his team earlier. Unlike Subban, I am not sure he has the ability to kickstart the whole affair on his lonesome.
Peter BudajFour goals on 30 shots is just too much. This is not an indictment of Carey price, but an admission that he was below his best. With the blanket the Bruins were able to throw over the forwards in this with a three-goal lead, Price has to take some responsibility. The fourth goal, after life was given, was the knell for this contest, as well. I don't have any more to say on it, except, that I fully expect it will be different next time.
CommentsI have mixed emotions about this one. Yes, the Bruins got a little bit of luck on three of their goals (the Plekanec interference call was 100% wrong). But the Bruins were the only team trying to make use of luck. Except for the Canadiens two goals really, their chances were outsiders and half-hearted. I was worried to see so much half-heartedness, and only climbed out of despair when the full-hearted Gallagher and Subban showed me how.
We must be careful though not to heap all this on the Habs. What we finally saw, I think, was the Bruins playing the hockey they so regularly employed to win the regular season crown. This is what playing a favourite is all about. Sometimes they show you full well why they deserved that title.
The heartening thing then must be how rare that feeling has been thus far. And how the Bruins really only came into it themselves once comfortably backed by three goals.
Now, the Canadiens can't formulate a gameplan that says: score first. If so, why not the equally silly: score more. What the team does need to do, however, is to show its full life early and often. To push back on what Boston will surely offer, because they as yet always have. It won't be easy, nor impossible.
Can the coaches do much about it? Well, Prust's
Finally, I'll say this. Therrien must trust his star players. There is no guarantee they will prevail. There is only a better chance they can. Subban is top of the heap. Unrein him if necessary, he has shown he deserves the chance. Play Gallagher more. He's in no more need of protection than the others. Don't discount Vanek and Pacioretty yet. Vanek still puts across the passes to dismantle and Pacioretty has it in him to create the havoc that it will take to win.
Don't poke the bear? A mere tagline. This is the Habs with the season on the line.