Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens - Game Six

Canadiens hold on to force Game 7 tomorrow, beat Bruins 2-1

1 Comment

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.

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

2 Comments

Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

(Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

“He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

7 Comments

The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

22 Comments

The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

***

Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

13 Comments

With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.