Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals - Game Seven

There was a great article written today that was posted on the NESN website. The content of the article had to do with the Milan Lucic ejection last night in game six. Lucic hit Montreal defenseman Jaroslav Spacek face first into the boards resulting in a five minute boarding major and a game misconduct.

Within the text laid two slide shows containing pictures of the incident. Both angles showed that Spacek saw Lucic coming at him and he turned purposely in order to get the call. Now the article made a reference towards soccer and how soccer players are a bunch of actors. I did not like that comparison. However, the Canadiens will do whatever it takes to sell a call. The NHL did the right thing by not suspending the Bruins leading goal scorer.

Game seven has not favored Boston over the years. In fact, they have not won a game seven in the playoffs since April 29, 1994 when they defeated the Canadiens by a score of 5-3. The Bruins had to focus on the game tonight and not worry about the past. They did just that as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Johnny Boychuk scored his first goal of the postseason on assists from Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. Later on, Mark Recchi scored his first goal of the postseason on an assist from Andrew Ference.

The Canadiens grabbed one back as Yannick Weber scored on a power play (no surprise there). Daniel Paille (BOS) broke his stick on the play so it became an indirect 5-on-3. Roman Hamrlik and Mike Cammalleri had the assists. P.K. Subban (MTL) has literally become the public enemy in Boston. He tried to sell a hooking call on Gregory Campbell by diving to the ice. Why didn't the referees call a dive on Subban? Oh, man. It is a disgrace to hockey to have a talented player like Subban stoop to that level. That is the Montreal influence right there.

As previously mentioned, the Bruins power play has been non-existent in the playoffs. They had a man advantage early in the second period. A bad pass from Dennis Seidenberg to Mark Recchi allowed Tomas Plekanec to score on Boston's power play and that tied the game at two goals each. Montreal is living and dying by playing with their special teams. If both of these teams played 5-on-5 for the entire series and no penalties were called, this series would already be over in favor of Boston. Unfortunately, that is not how hockey works. Game seven of this series came down to the final period.

In the third period, much of the physical play was on display. Both teams were fighting for their playoff lives in order to get that go-ahead goal. Sure enough, Chris Kelly (BOS) put a nice hit on Roman Hamrlik to intercept the puck. The puck fell to Rich Peverley in which he got a good shot off. After a Carey Price save, Kelly put in the rebound to put the Bruins on top 3-2. Price kept the Canadiens in the game with some amazing saves. Later on in the period, Patrice Bergeron got called for a high stick which put Montreal back on the power play. P.K. Subban blasted a shot on goal and it went past Tim Thomas' head into the goal. Game seven went to sudden death overtime after both teams were tied at three after regulation.

There are moments in sports where the elation and passion of a certain franchise falls over an entire city. At 5:43 of the first overtime period, the Boston fans experienced one of those moments. Adam McQuaid fought for the puck in the Montreal zone and popped it up to Milan Lucic. He passed the puck over to Nathan Horton and shot the puck into the net for the series winning goal. The Bruins eliminated the Canadiens as they take the series four games to three.

Even though the Bruins took out their rival, even though Claude Julien saved his job, and even though they won their first game seven in years, they cannot be satisfied. They will face the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, the same team that eliminated the Bruins last season.

Gold Star: Mark Recchi (1 goal, +1 rating, 5 shots on goal)...this was his best game of the series and he picked a great night to have it.

Black Star: Tomas Kaberle...he admitted after the second game of the series that he still had some playoff jitters. Hopefully this series win will knock them out of his system and he can start playing up to his potential.

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