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Friday, April 17, 2009
Nobody likes you Montreal, move along
It's the longest running playoff rivalry in sports: Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins. For that and many other reasons (namely the fact that they've knocked us out in the first round three out of the last four times we've made the playoffs), this is the perfect way to start what should be a long playoff run for the B's.
The Caps lost game 1 to the Rangers on Wednesday and San Jose was shutout by the Ducks last night so anything can happen in the second season.
Last night at the Boston Garden, the Bruins took game 1, 4-2. Phil Kessel led the way with two goals and assist while Zdeno Chara provided the game-winner in the third period with one of his patented blasts from the point.
The Canadiens simply own Boston in the playoffs, with a 24-8 series record. Boston hasn't gotten out of the first round since 1999 and it is 37 years and counting since the Bruins hoisted the Stanley Cup. All of these facts and tidbits give writers plenty of material but none of it has any bearing on this year and this series.
For once, Boston has all the pieces: a great goaltending, four solid lines of scoring, probably the best defenseman in the league and a coach that is also at the top of his game.
Kessel and David Krejci gave the B's a quick 2-0 lead in the first period which sent an electric crowd into a frenzy. Kessel poked home a rebound (from Krejci and Chuck Kobasew) past Habs goalie Carey Price (38 saves). A minute and a half later, after some superb forechecking by Milan Lucic, Krejci scored after passes from Lucic and Michael Ryder.
Montreal hung around though as Chris Higgins scored from ex-Bruin Glen Metropolit and Alex Tanguay. It was 2-1 Boston after one period.
Alex Kovalev tied it late in the second period with a ridiculous one-timer that snuck into the top right corner, past B's goalie Tim Thomas (28 saves). Saku Koivu and Josh Gorges assisted.
Chara's power-play goal at 11:15 in the third came with assists to Kessel and Marc Savard. After not creating many decent scoring opportunities in the second and third, Boston finally cashed in a good chance.
Kessel iced it with an empty-netter with 14 seconds left, with Lucic providing the dish.
There was a scrum after that last goal and numerous other scraps during the game. Montreal clearly realized that the only chance they had to win was to goad the Bruins into dumb penalties and get them out of their style. The Canadiens put on a brave face afterwards and said they saw promise but if they lose tomorrow night in game 2, good night.