Saturday, May 3, 2014

Eastern Conference Semifinals (Games 1 and 2) - Here We Go

Here we go, indeed.

When the 2014 NHL playoff schedule was announced, one thing that jumped off the page was that the Boston Bruins had the opportunity to play the Montreal Canadiens in the second round. Of course, everything had to align perfectly for that to happen.

Guess what? No more salivating is necessary; we have received that matchup. 

The Bruins and Habs will lock up in the postseason for an NHL-record 34th time, and no other rivalry brings the emotion and hatred like this one. Montreal has had over a week off since sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning out of the first round, so they were certainly a well-rested and rejuvenated bunch. 

For the Bruins, having home-ice advantage could mean all the difference in the world by the end of this series. Thursday night marked the beginning of the next installment of this rivalry. Yes, the Canadiens have taken the season series, but the playoffs are an entirely different animal. 

Daniel Paille made his return to the lineup after missing the entire series against the Detroit Red Wings with a concussion. Also, Dennis Seidenberg is back practicing with the team. No need to absorb a double take-that information is accurate. 

Bruins/Habs-Round 34 is upon us!

In the first game of this series, the Bruins got off to a really strong start. They just needed to crowd the front of the net a little more to actually produce. They fell behind on goals from P.K. Subban and Rene Bourque, but that only increased the hitting and chances for Boston. The second period featured countless scoring opportunities for the Bruins, but they just could not get the puck past Carey Price. 

After knocking on the door for over 40 minutes, they finally beat Price for two goals on consecutive shots to tie the game. Reilly Smith and Torey Krug were the goal scorers for the Bruins. After the teams exchanged late goals in the third period, this one was overtime bound. Sure enough, Subban blasted the puck past Tuukka Rask for his second power-play goal of the game in double overtime. Yes, the Bruins recorded 51 shots, but fell to Montreal in game one. 

Saturday afternoon at the TD Garden was the sight of game two. Andrej Meszaros and Jordan Caron returned to the lineup for the Bruins. Clearly, a spark and a shakeup was needed. 

The referees tried to settle things down, but they dictated the majority of the game. The pace favored Montreal as they held a 3-1 lead in the third period, with two of those tallies coming from Thomas Vanek. However, the B's erupted for four-straight goals in the final 20 minutes to shell-shock Montreal with a 5-3 victory. Rask finally accumulated his first win against the Canadiens on home ice. This was an electrifying affair, and could easily be considered the best game of the second round thus far. Well, we are tied up. Now, it is off to Canada. 

Games three and four will be played next week up in Montreal.

Gold Star: Patrice Bergeron...He definitely stepped up in big moments, recording three total points and demonstrating his "Selke" skills in the defensive zone. 

Black Star: Milan Lucic...He lacked speed, he was sloppy with the puck, and he was not hitting. He is supposed to be a Bruin, not a Hab. Despite his empty-net goal in the second game, he did nothing.

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