2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – First Round Series Recap
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game 2 - Montreal 3, Boston 1 – Canadiens lead series, 2-0
If the Boston Bruins don’t win each of the next two games they play, they’re likely going to be in for a very long, cold and brutal summer of offseason misery. In short order, the Bruins – tabbed by many as the Eastern Conference favorite – have fallen into a very deep ditch. Now, they must dig out of it against the team that’s created so many hellish moments for them in the postseason over many decades.
The Montreal Canadiens have owned the Bruins in the 1970s… and most of the 1980s… and the early 1990s… and most of the decades in which North American professional hockey has been played. The Habs have lifted 24 Stanley Cups in their illustrious history while Boston, a fellow Original Six member, has claimed just five Cups. Springtime showdowns between these bitter rivals usually conclude with the Quebeckers conquering the Bs, making New Englanders turn to the Red Sox and Celtics for sports salvation. Clearly, that narrative is emerging once again, and what makes the reality even more painful for Beantowners is that this was supposed to be the Bruins’ time to shine in the postseason. A Game 1 loss could have been seen as a hiccup on the road to a championship, but a Game 2 stink-bomb shows that Boston is already on the precipice of ultimate defeat. The Bs must win four of the next five games, and that almost certainly means that coach Claude Julien’s crew must win each of the next two games in Montreal to have a realistic chance of taking this series.
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Just what went wrong for the Bruins on Saturday night? Well, for one thing, they weren’t ready to play. Montreal’s Mike Cammalleri scored just 43 seconds into the game, and the Canadiens took a 2-0 lead just 97 seconds later when Mathieu Darche found the back of the net on a power play. Boston goalie Tim Thomas needed to be a rock for his team, but he instead turned into a sieve. It’s true that the Bruins scored only one goal against Montreal’s white-hot goalie, Carey Price, but with the Habs clinging to a tenuous 2-1 lead late in the second period, it was Thomas who allowed a terrible rebound on a relatively soft shot from the right face-off circle. Montreal’s Yannick Weber popped the loose puck into the net to give the Habs a 3-1 lead and squelch the momentum the Bruins built after Patrice Bergeron scored Boston’s first goal of the series midway through the second. When Montreal nullified Boston’s one credible rally of the night, the home team’s confidence was shattered. Les Habitants played an authoritative third period and coasted home for another two-goal win. Now heading to Montreal for Games 3 and 4, coach Jacque Martin’s men just need a split to retain thorough control of this confrontation. Unless Boston can produce something very special, a promising season is going to end in a very familiar fashion: at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens.
By: Matt Zemek
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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