Monday, May 05, 2014

Bergeron Line Leads Bruins' Rally

This series is just a few inches (or centimeters for our metric loving Canadian friends) from being led 2-0, by either team. It's that close. From what we've seen in 2 games, it's difficult to imagine the series being decided in fewer than 7.

After Thomas Vanek gave the Canadiens a 3-1 lead in the 3rd, I didn't think the Bruins had much of a chance. They did what they had to do, though. They took the game one shift at a time. They tried to win each possession, each shift. And it worked.

The Bergeron line mounted the comeback. Dougie Hamilton's goal was a result of Brad Marchand entering the zone on the left wing, then turning around in a curl along the boards. This move drew the attention of the Habs' defenders, allowing Dougie Hamilton to drift into the extreme high slot and bury a shot past Price. Hamilton now has 2 goals and 6 points in these playoffs. 3-2 Canadiens.

Bergeron made it a 3-3 game when he, Reilly Smith, and Brad Marchand fought for possession behind the Montreal net and in the corner. The key was support. Smith lost his battle but Marchand was there in support to reclaim the puck. Once Marchand won his battle he dished it to Bergeron who scored from the halfwall. 3-3.

The play leading to the game-winning goal looked like a basketball play that a coach would draw up during a timeout with 5.5 seconds left. Bodies rotated, the puck rotated. Four Montreal defenders went to one side of the ice, and the goal was scored by Reilly Smith on the weak side. Bergeron started the play on the right point, passed to Smith along the halfwall, Smith passed to Chara who had displaced Bergeron on the right point. Chara carried it up the blue line to the left point, while Krug pinched from the left point to the halfwall. Chara passed to Krug. With four Canadiens on the left, Krug made the cross-ice pass to the right faceoff dot where Smith had shifted. 4-3 Bruins.

One line, 3 goals in under 6 minutes.

It wasn't a perfect game for everyone on that line. Brad Marchand's horrendous giveaway in the neutral zone led to Montreal's first goal. He hasn't been sharp in transition this series.

Special teams continue to be a problem for the Bruins. Thomas Vanek scored twice on the power play, both were redirections. These are not "puck luck" goals or fortunate bounces, these were results of intentional efforts by the Habs. Vanek was able to win position down low, against Zdeno Chara of all people, and deflected a pair of PK Subban shot-passes that Rask had no chance to stop.

The Bruins' penalty kill is 5 for 9 (55.6%) in this series. The power play has yet to score, even with an extended 5-on-3 in Saturday's game.

The Bell Centre is the last place in the world you want to go when special teams are a problem. But that's where the Bruins are headed. Game 3 Tuesday night at 7.

Photo Credit:
Charles Krupa/Associated Press