The Boston Bruins are one win away from reaching the Eastern Conference final.
The Bruins were the dominant team in a pivotal Game 5 against the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, coming away with a 4-2 victory to take a 3-2 series lead. This series now shifts back to Montreal, with the Habs needing a win to force a seventh and deciding game against their long-time bitter rivals.
The animosity built early – with agitators Brad Marchand and Brendan Gallagher jawing off the opening faceoff – and continued throughout. But the Canadiens ran into discipline issues and the Bruins were all too happy to make them pay.
Boston scored a pair of power play goals just 32 seconds apart early in the second period – Reilly Smith and Jarome Iginla tallied – to open up a three-goal lead. On both goals, Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec was in the box. He took three minor penalties through the first 22 minutes of the game, including one for knocking Tuukka Rask right over inside the Boston crease.
The Canadiens got one back to make it interesting late in the second period. Gallagher, who had been run into the end boards and was slow to get up, eventually did so, went to the net and had the puck deflect off him.
P.K. Subban also scored for Montreal, cutting Boston’s lead back down to two goals late in the third period. But it was far too late by that point.
Game 6 of this series goes Monday – back in Montreal.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: