It can’t be a Bruins-Canadiens game in Montreal without massive amounts of controversy. Tonight’s game provided enough from all angles to keep tinfoil hat wearers for both teams busy for the next year. In spite of all that, the Canadiens pulled a 2-1 win out in Game 6 to force a Game 7 tomorrow night in Boston.
The controversy began three minutes into the game when an apparent goal by Brian Gionta after a big rebound from Tim Thomas (25 saves) was put home for an apparent goal. The problem being that referee Kevin Pollock had blown the play dead after losing sight of the puck from his position on the opposite side of Thomas and the puck. Upon blowing the play dead, Habs fans at the Bell Centre littered the ice with rally towels and rained boos down on the call.
The Habs would be undeterred though as Mike Cammalleri would make it count at 10:07 of the first period on the power play to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead. The Habs would hold that lead until the second period when at 48 seconds in, Dennis Seidenberg would even things up slipping one past Carey Price (31 saves) to tie it up.
That lead would be short lived as Milan Lucic would provide more of the night’s controversy after boarding Jaroslav Spacek at 4:37 of the second. Lucic would receive a five minute major and a game misconduct. Patrice Bergeron would make the situation worse after getting a delay of game penalty for putting the the Habs on a 5-on-3 power play. There, Brian Gionta would score to put the Habs up for good 2-1.
The third period would roll along in classic Habs style with the Canadiens frustrating the Bruins and the Bruins unable to fight through and get the equalizer. Montreal’s win now forces a winner-take-all Game 7 tomorrow night in Boston to see who moves on to the second round.
For Montreal it was a classic game for them. They scored first (twice even!) and put the pressure on the Bruins to fight back all night long. When the Bruins evened it up, they were able to put them back in a hole right afterwards with a little help from Lucic. The Canadiens will want to do more of that in Game 7 to make the Bruins sweat it out.
For Boston, they have to do something with their power play. It’s a dire situation for them on the man advantage as they’ve still not scored on the power play in the playoffs. If the Bruins want to get out of this series, nevermind winning the Cup, they have to figure out what’s wrong there and get Tomas Kaberle going.
Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.
With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.
It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.
Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.
The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.
Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.
They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.
This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.
You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.
With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.
Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).
In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:
Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.
Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.
So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.
The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.
No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.
He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.
There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.
So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.
Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.
(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)