Well, we were expecting an incredible series and we are well on our way. Four goals in the third. A dozen phenomenal chances in the first OT. A rip from the point to win it in the second OT. The crowd was intense, players were emotional, goalies were phenomenal. It’s B’s/Habs best-of-seven in May. And it’s awesome.
Fans of both squads have good reason to feel confident after last night’s thriller. Bruins fans are undoubtedly at the water cooler all day today saying, “We dominated the whole game; look at the shots, if it weren’t for Price and a couple bounces we’d have won easy. I like where we’re at.” And, to a certain degree, they’re right. The shots on goal entering the second overtime were 50-29 Bruins. After nursing a slow start and falling down 2-0 through 2 frames, the Bruins scored 3 goals in the third and outshot the Habs 14-6 to force overtime. They again outshot the Habs 14-6 in the first overtime, scaring the goal line a handful of times and barely falling short on pucks sitting in the crease.
But this was a 5-period game. Boston didn’t play their game in the first two periods. They weren’t awful, but Montreal was having their way — much like in the regular season series which they won 3-1 — getting second chances off the rush and using their speed to counter the B’s possession-type game. And in the second overtime, which only lasted 4:17 and consisted of 2 Montreal power plays, the Habs outshot the B’s 4-1 and got the game-winner on a blue-line, PP rip from Subban.
If you’re a Habs fan, you probably speak some weird combination of French and English so I’m not exactly sure what you’d be saying, but you should be saying, in English translation, “We stole one in Boston, Carey Price looked great, and our 2013 Norris-Trophy-winning, franchise defenseman scored 2 goals; we’re in great shape.” That would be very accurate and very promising. Sure, the B’s dominated the third period and the first overtime. They moved the puck like they like to move it and they came wave on wave. That’s fine; the best team in the regular season is going to have their good stretches on home ice in the playoffs. But the Habs bent without breaking. Price stood on his head and reinforced his position as one of the world’s best goaltenders. And, the game as a whole, was not one-sided.
Of the five periods, the first two were basically even, the second two were Boston, and the final 4-minute double overtime was Montreal. And they won. If I were a betting man (which I am), I would have a difficult time picking one squad over the other right now. Going in, you had to favor Boston. But, with one game down and Montreal stealing that one game, I feel it’s now anyone’s series.
PS – Yes, yesterday I picked Montreal to win in 7. That was mostly a gut thing — looking good so far.