2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – First Round Series Recap
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game 4 - Boston 5, Montreal 4 (OT) – Series tied 2-2
There’s a long way to go in this upside-down first-round series, but it’s worth saying right now: If the Boston Bruins can manage to defeat their longtime playoff nemesis, the Montreal Canadiens, they just might find the confidence and conviction needed to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. If Boston finally makes good on its promise and potential, a Thursday night in Quebec will be remembered as the time when life turned around for an oft-haunted franchise.
The Bruins were viewed to be a dead team walking when they made the trip to Montreal trailing 2-0 in this series. All the Canadiens had to do to retain control of the series was split a pair of home games in their raucous building before the most passionate fan base in the sport. Carey Price was working his magic between the pipes, and a Boston team that blew a 3-0 series lead to Philadelphia last year was seemingly paralyzed by the postseason spotlight. B’s coach Claude Julien was under fire, and one could feel the light going out of a whole organization. Boston was dead. That was a reasonable statement to make.
Now, after half a week spent in French Canada, the outlook is completely different. Not only did the Bruins prolong this series to a Game 5, they’re returning to Boston with a brand-new, even-steven ledger sheet. Yes, Boston went into the lion’s den and swiped two games from the hated Habs. Will the home team ever win a game in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series? So far the home is 0-4 through the first four games.
You won’t find Boston complaining about the matter.
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Michael Ryder scored 1:59 into overtime to give the Bruins an exhilarating win over Montreal and transform the outlook in two very different locker rooms.
The lone goal of the first period was scored by Montreal when Brent Sopel slipped one past Tim Thomas at the 8:13 mark. Boston responded with Michael Ryder’s first goal of the game at the 2:13 mark of the second period.
Montreal then scored two unanswered goals and took a two-goal lead after scores from Mike Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn that were registered just 95 seconds park. Cammalleri’s goal was at the 6:52 mark and while Kostitsyn’s mark was at 7:47 of the second period. At that point in time, Boston stared its season – for all practical purposes – in the face, but the Bruins answered the call instead of shriveling in the cauldron of postseason pressure.
Boston’s Andrew Ference narrowed Montreal’s lead to 3-2 when he scored at the 9:59 mark and then decided to give the bird to the sellout crowd at Bell Centre. Then, Patrice Bergeron tied the game for the B’s with a goal at the 17:04 mark and the teams went into the locker room tied at 3 heading into the third period.
Montreal took an early third period lead when P.K. Subban scored on the man advantage at the 1:39 mark, but for the final and most decisive time, Boston answered with a third period goal of its own. Chris Kelly, doing gruntwork in front of the net, outfought a Montreal defenseman and hacked the puck past Price before the goalie could locate the small black object. Kelly stuffed the puck into the net and tied the score at 4 at the 13:42 mark. After playing from behind all night long, the Bruins had attained parity, and when they killed a penalty in the final two and a half minutes of regulation, they gained all the momentum heading into overtime. It was entirely unsurprising that just a few minutes into OT, Boston got the jump on the Habs, as Ryder scored his second goal of the game and gave Beantowners hope that this year just might be the year.
The next few days will tell the tale.
By: Matt Zemek
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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