Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Rask (L)
Habs goalscorers: Eller, Pacioretty, Vanek (2)
Opposition goalscorers: None
This play could have been any number of things. A blocked shot, a save, a beautiful passing play, a sustained effort, a penalty kill. Maybe it seems like I'm harping on Max Pacioretty, but right now I think that matters -- t get the 40-goal man rolling, that is. The play itself couldn't have been more sweetly scripted. The Bruins had just missed after penning the Canadiens in. Beaulieu, a player the Habs drafted high enough to nab because of the Bruins in 2011, and inserted in the lineup only this evening, outworks first star of last game, Carl Soderberg, flips it over the head of Patrice Bergeron and others, with a hop that lies for Pacioretty. Max eyes the puck and his nemesis bearing down on it. With a few extra explosive strides and a deft rump, he takes Chara out of the play and beats Tuukka Rask at even strength. It was a Max Pacioretty signature goal and it lit his smile. I was premature about that monkey off his back a few days ago. I think the evidence of the rest of the game will convince even Max it's gone now.
Max PaciorettyThe best forward in a number of different ways in this game. He scored the most important goal. He did it versus a well-positioned Chara and Rask. He looked the fastest man on the ice during that play and a few others. his defending, never in question, was again very helpful in the cause. If he is not to be declared back for good, he was at least back for this very important game. This is a nice thought for those in the tricolore.
Thomas VanekThe reason we're not all goalscorers is because it really is difficult to develop as a skill and a method. All the floating, the timing, everything to be just so. Vanek was not the two-goal man in this one by pure chance. While it is true that some bounces did end up on his stick at just the right time, that's the madness to the method. Goalscorers of the proven variety always come away looking like this. He pounced for the goal that really gave Montreal that extra gust and the empty netter, redundant as it probably was, sealed the affair without a moment of hesitation. Apart from this, there were his passing plays -- very pretty at times.
Tomas PlekanecPleks really stood out for me on numerous occasions in this game. I thought that in the midst of the fairly quick burial of Game #5, he was subdued. I was concerned that he might check out. Quite the contrary, he was as energetic as I've seen him in many games, one of the fastest Habs on the ice. All the pressure that came early in the third to take away half a period of pushback was due to this Montreal speed. He was a leader in this defence from the front.
Josh GorgesFew and far between now are the claims that he is the most underrated in the league. Finally, it seems he is being underrated as he skates in PK's wake. But some of his best work is because he skates so well in that wake, when many times there is work to be done in the turbulence. This game was as important a statement as Boston's apparent return to form (guess all team's with leads do it) in Game #5, and Josh and his fellow defensive-minded teammates did a superb job at limiting Boston's zone time in this game.
Andrei Markov - Game PuckIt's like the old days, Markov doing all the little things so sublimely well to get the puck from this site. The solid effort came from the whole team. He just somehow offered that which was a little more mature, a little more polished at times. Some of the standout moments were the usual, good ushering, PP maestro stuff. Slightly more uplifting to his teammates must have been the two hip checks, the tamer one on Krejci and then the absolute corker on Lucic. The Bruin has never been hit so convincingly by a Hab. I also disagree with Don Cherry (surprise), I think the play on Chara at the end was fine. Zdeno will be motivated just plenty by the Game's number and a little trip in a rout won't affect anything at all.
Carey PriceI vouched for him last time, so I'm glad with the response. To come into Game #6 and get a shutout is so very impressive for Carey. This was him vanquishing more than the best team in the NHL this season. His personal demons too and shaking off some rough stuff from last time out. Perspective is everything though. Down the road, but for a few detailed reports, this game will be remembered as his shutout, a statement. Yet he was clean beaten three times. He owes his defencemen and Desharnais some lunch at least for the shutout, but they owe him as much and more for his work to now. The shutout itself is a nice headline to loom over Boston's planning session for next game.
CommentsThis game was a masterpiece by recent Canadiens standards. And it was largely made possible by a moment of fortune/misfortune that was the first goal.
What doesn't get said enough about the Habs is that they are a very difficult team to wear down when they lead. As we are force-fed a Bruins diet on CBC, with all the impossible to break down, impossible to count out, blah, blah, we miss the plaudits for the work the Canadiens have managed this season with their early explosions.
But this game was better than most. While the Habs still favoured the "let them come" approach at times, the majority of the game after the second goal at least was spent in an even, if not Habs dominated contest. The spurt that came midway through the third was the Bruins offering, and even that ended when Desharnais smothered what would have been another fortunate bounce in for the Black and Yellow.
As well as the dome, I think the whole squad deserves credit. It is as hard to select a dome after a game like this as it was after the stifling loss. All the defencemen did things that deserve mention, much of it blocking. The forwards all two did better in their own end and somehow finally looked to be getting the feel for puck possession in the Bruins end. I think the moves by Therrien helped in this regard. Briere was good in his targeted use. Prust was the right choice over Moen. And Beaulieu just turned in a performance quite some games beyond his experience.
The mission was accomplished here. The task now is to find what was on tap in Boston for Games #1 and #2 and funnel that. Perhaps it is as simple as not getting behind by three. If that is the case, it is still against the Bruins gameplan and will take plenty of the hard work and determined skating from this one to put into effect.
I would go ahead with the same lineup, personnel permitting. Beaulieu adds that wild card that Boston never considered and he seems up to it. I should have known Prust over Moen, must be getting soft on 32. And Vanek maybe just needed a few games with Pleks to get going. Fair play, it looks better to me now.
Get your best game routine in gear. It's Game #7 with an important prize on the other side.