Apparently home ice advantage is not that advantageous for Montreal and Boston as neither team has been able to notch a victory when playing before their home crowds. The 4-2 win Monday night was monumental and dramatically improves their shot at beating the Canadiens in this series. While they are still down 2-1 after three games, being down 3-0 would have been nearly impossible to overcome.
The bruins came out swinging and dominated Montreal throughout the entire first period. Their aggression was rewarded as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the opening twenty minutes. They looked like a completely different team offensively than the first two games of the series. Their passing was phenomenal and their excellent puck movement set up several quality scoring opportunities early on.
After missing game 2, Zdeno Chara’s return to Montreal was a huge lift for the Bruins and his presence was exactly what the Bruins needed. I can’t say that his return to the lineup was viewed as positively for Montreal fans though. As expected, Montreal fans have not forgotten the hit Chara laid on Max Pacioretty during his last visit to the Bell Centre, which hospitalized him and ended his season. Apparently they have not forgiven him either, as they booed him relentlessly every time he touched the puck.
The jeers didn’t seem to faze him however, as he was destroying Canadiens players all night long. His physical play had a tremendous impact on the game and it was easy to see why he is considered one of the most dominant defenders in the game and just how valuable he is to this Bruins team.
Chara’s return and a fast start provided the Bruins with enough momentum to carry them to the victory, although an insanely frantic third period provided several scary moments for Bruins fans. One of the more exciting stretches of hockey I have seen in a while, the Canadiens fought and clawed their way back to pull within one goal after the Bruins had dominated for most of the night.
Despite having allowed a cheap goal on Montreal’s first score, Tim Thomas came up huge in the final period. His goaltending was sensational and he somehow stopped several chances that looked like sure goals. His ability to keep the puck out of the back of the net was tremendous and also one of the main reasons that the Bruins were able to survive and stay alive in this intense series.
The Bruins will look to continue the losing at home trend on Wednesday night in Montreal and, if they’re able to do so, they will even up the series at two games apiece. This series has certainly not been for the faint of heart, and if the third period of Monday night’s game is any indication of what we can expect over the remaining games, than you might want to add a potent cardiac medication as one of your in-game menu options.
So, I know my prediction of Boston winning the series in five games is no longer realistic, but the Bruins finally came up with an effort to spark a bit of hope for Boston fans. The series has been as advertised so far, and hopefully this win will ignite a winning streak that carries Boston into the next round. A win on Wednesday would go a long way in achieving that accomplishment, so look for the Bruins to come out of the gates flying again.
A fast start is essential, because in all three games, the team that scores first has ended up winning. Therefore, hope for an early goal and an even series, because as long as they win, the number games they played will not matter. One thing’s for sure; it will be a very entertaining and thrilling conclusion. Make sure your medicine cabinets are replenished and try to enjoy the rest of this heart-stopping series.