Nobody expected the Boston Bruins to just roll over and die.
Well, nobody except the Canadiens, apparently.
The Habs came out flat and were "out Canadien-ed" by a now officially desperate Bruins team to lose 4-2 in front of a frenzied crowd. Boston is back in the series and now have new life.
It seems that the pressure to perform these teams face in front of their home crowds is getting to them. Boston has been ruthless on their team. The Montreal crowd last night did everything they could do to motivate their team, but it wasn't enough.
Buoyed by the return of big Zdeno Chara, Boston knew they had to win this game if they had a chance to get back into this series and they delivered their best effort to date. Scoring first seems to be of paramount import and that's exactly what happened when David Krejci scored early in the first.
It looked as if everything was coming up Habs when Chara first stepped onto the ice only to cause a too-many men penalty. Unfortunately the Canadiens didn't come out with that "eye of the tiger" intensity and focus and didn't capitalize. The Habs had their chances but their powerplay seems to have stalled.
Meanwhile, the Bruins kept chipping away, winning puck battles and getting pucks deep. Sound familiar??? A bit of a lucky one by Nathan Horton that barely went in made it 2-0; then Carey Price was burned on a lackadaisical clearing which deflected off of Mark Recchi and straight to Rich Peverley who put it into the open net.
Too bad but we lost because of that one. But in a way, sort of happy Price was burned like this now rather than later. He's flirted with danger for awhile now, and better he tightens up that part of his game now.
Not to say Price didn't play well. He had no chance on the first goal which Boston scored on its first shot of the game. He made some big time saves otherwise this game could have gotten out of hand before the Habs finally received the memo and started playing hockey.
Boston certainly wasn't dominant in this game, but they did what they needed to do to win and kudos to them for that. Now it's a series. Well it's never easy, that's for sure and the quicker the Habs realize this, the better. Because they still have a golden chance to go up 3-1 in the series when it resumes for Game 4 on Thursday.
The Canadiens ultimately showed up for the second half of the game and made it exciting with a goals by Andrei "my foot is sore" Kostitsyn (and who probably was the team's best forward last night) and Tomas Plekanec on a spin-a-rama.
Timmy Thomas seemed to fight the puck a bit last night but came up big when he had to, making some huge stops in the 3rd when the Canadiens began pouring it on. And Scott Gomez again couldn't put the puck home with an open net after a nice feed from Gionta with about 3 minutes to play. This is where we really miss Pacioretty.
Boston heads to Lake Placid with new life and energy. The Canadiens need to look in the mirror and not take anything for granted. They have to come up with their best effort of the series to get a win on Thursday. Let's see if they're up to the challenge.