Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nice job, Habs-

-you made that child cry.

You sicken me, to my very core you French bastards.

Still, all is not lost for the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins played a great hockey game last night. The only thing you can really fault them for was a lackluster start of the second period, and not being able to generate enough shots (were there any?) on Price in the last seven minutes. Keep in mind, the Canadiens started icing the puck and playing kitty bar the door for almost a full seven minutes at the end of the game, and that's a real bad sign for Montreal. The Bruins had a nice passing play in the final seconds, but just didn't get the job done.

Still, being down 3-1 against the Canadiens is bad. If you look at it as having to win three straight games against a team you've beaten once in your last 14 meetings, it's very bad. But there is reason to look at it differently.

First off, despite what the Canadian hockey press is attempting to foist on us, Carey Price is no Patrick Roy and/or Ken Dryden. Not yet, and not from what he's showed us thus far in the series.

-His goals against is good, yes, but he's playing the Bruins, a team that has scored fewer goals than almost anybody in the playoffs. Remember that if the Habs advance to play either the Devils or Rangers, the East's other two other low scoring teams that can win, before you allow the media to prematurely put a crown on this kid's head for his GAA.

-27 saves is not really a lot of shots in an NHL shutout. Yes, he got the job done, and the Bruins didn't score last night. He made a few nice saves (Murray in the slot from a Savard feed, and getting a piece of that Sturm shorthanded chance when he was out of position) but for my money, the best save of the series is still Thomas in OT of game 3. Price has been solid, no question, but he hasn't yet made THAT save, the save he has no business making.

For a team that is up 3-1, the Canadiens are nothing close to dominant, with the explosive performance of game one a distant memory. Sure, they may win this series, especially seeing as the last three games have been one goal squeakers, but while the Bruins didn't win last night, they did come away with confidence. They can beat this team, and if not for a referee's whistle in game two, the series is tied.

And confidence is the key factor right now, as it's exactly what the Bruins didn't have coming into Montreal in game one. They hadn't beaten this team all year, were afraid to play physical because of Montreal's dominant power play, and had a large portion of their team making their playoff debuts, including their starting goaltender and leading scorer, the latter who also had a very sore back. So they got jumped on by both the Habs and their building in game one, and lost their confidence.

But now they have it back.

Despite the fact that the Bruins didn't score in game four, they were for much of the game the better team, and now they have the chance to go back to Montreal, and face that crowd again. My guess is they rise to the challenge. Obviously, being down 3-1, it's easy to say that the Bruins can't lose another game. But if they had won last night, would the situation be any different? Could they afford to go back to Montreal and lose, hope to win in Boston and then head back to the building that they never won a game in for game seven?

No matter what happened last night, they would need a win in Montreal in game 5.

And if they can do this, they will build on the confidence that they have started building in game two, and add to it the knowledge that they can beat them in their own barn. With that kind of momentum, I really like their chances back in Boston for game six, and in game seven, anything can happen.

How ya feeling, Patrice?

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