A Tale Of Two Halves Leaves Everyone Wanting More
A Tale Of Two Halves Leaves Everyone Wanting More
Boston Bruins 5 Montreal Canadiens 4
The Bruins Even The Series And Steal One In Overtime
Even if you're just a casual hockey fan or a supporter of another team, last night’s game between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre might have been the best game of the playoffs. It had everything that an NHL game needs to have to keeps its’ viewers on the edge of their seats.
But the true test to how good a game is and was is only felt at the end of the game. After Michael Ryder beat Carey Price just before two minutes had elapsed in overtime, anyone and everyone were left wanting more. We all stood there saying to ourselves, "okay, what’s next, and I can’t wait until the next twist and turn in the series." That’s the feeling being felt not only in Boston and Montreal but all over the hockey world.
Was it the best game played by the teams? The coaches would say no. Was it the best game played by the players? They would probably all say no as well. Was it the best game of the series? Absolutely it was.
The game was split in two halves. The first was totally dominated by the Habs. They peppered Tim Thomas with over 25 shots. They scored three goals and by the nine minute mark of the second period, putting up a two goal lead, and looked like they were coasting to their third win of the series.
Everyone upon everyone has been talking about how important it is to score first and to take the lead early, a formula that held true through the first three games. Well, Montreal scored first and scored often, but tonight the trend was bucked. Brent Sopel, Michael Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn scored for the Habs in that first half, with Michael Ryder potting one in between for the Bruins, but at the ten minute mark of the second period, the game flipped.
The last ten minutes of the second period, the Habs decided to slowly lift their foot off the gas pedal and let the Bruins back in the game. By the end of the period Andrew Ference and Patrice Bergeron had scored to tie the game at three goals a piece. The contest now had a different feel to it.
While the Habs had dominated the first half, that wasn't necessarily the case for the Bruins for the rest of the game, it just felt like it. The Habs just looked disinterested. Coach Martin realized what was going on and got the team going again during the intermission. P.K. Subban put the Habs back into the lead early in the third period and everything looked like it was back on track. But once again, the Habs fell back and let the Bruins take over. By the end of the period, Boston was dominating on the ice and their shots on net doubled the Habs output. The inevitable came when Chris Kelly scored midway through the final frame to tie up the game one final time.
From then on, the game had that overtime feel to it. The Habs were given their last chance in regulation when Dennis Seidenberg was called for interference with a little over two minutes remaining. Unfortunately, the winning goal didn’t come, and we were headed to overtime for the first time in the series.
The winning goal didn’t come from a spectacular play: it came from a simple mistake. That mistake by Travis Moen was not getting the puck deep into the Bruins’ zone during a routine line change. It was his mistake which lead to the ill fated line change by Subban which in turn lead to an early three on one for Boston. The initial shot was missed but Michael Ryder, standing alone in front of the net, beat Carey Price to send most fans home disappointed. It wasn’t the long overtime fans talk about or that television networks dream of. It was short and quick and it left me wanting more.
The goaltenders for both teams were spectacular at times but were very ordinary when it counted. Price and Thomas stood on their heads for a handful of games, but on each of the nine goals, the shots shave have likely been saved. One minute you were left shocked at how they each kept that one out but the next you were left mumbling, how did they let that one in? Clearly Carey Price outplayed Tim Thomas in the first two games of the series. In the last two games, both goaltenders had their moments, but neither was the star.
Andrew Ference's actions have to be addressed. Ference is the so called green hockey player. One who walks or bikes to the arena and has been trying to get the NHL to become more environmentally friendly. He has rubbed a lot of owners, players and media the wrong way with some of his statements. Tonight he rubbed the fans of both teams the wrong way. After scoring the second goal for the Bruins, he decided to give the one finger salute to the whole world. The “we are number one” sign. There was no doubt about what he did and really no excuse. He told the media afterwards that it was a mistake and an accident. It might have been done without thinking or might have been done in jest but it deserves a suspension. It was a classless and disrespectful act to the game we all love. It may not be a headshot but in terms of what it means it might be worse.
And now on to game five of the series which will be played in Boston Saturday night. The series is now a best of three. If we all had our choice, the players would have gone back into their dressing rooms after the overtime, rested for about an hour and came out for the fifth game right there and then. That is how the game left me, it left me wanting more.
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Shahab Khan the Schoolboy