The Canadiens ran up a 3-0 lead and then, thanks to Lars Eller’s empty net goal, hung on to defeat the Boston Bruins 4-2 Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. The win gave the Canadiens a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Semi-final heading to Game Four Thursday night again at the Bell Centre. Tomas Plekanec, P.K. Subban and Dale Weise gave the Canadiens their 3-0 lead just past the midpoint of the game. Patrice Bergeron and Jarome Iginla scored for the Bruins to make it close entering the game’s final two minutes. The Bruins outshot the Canadiens 28-25. The RDS Three Stars were Subban, Price and Weise.
Adding It Up –
For Openers – A brilliant three-way play opened the scoring for the Canadiens midway through the first period. P.K. Subban, under checking pressure, dropped touch pass back to the line where Thomas Vanek was backing him up. With time, Vanek spotted Tomas Plekanec alone at the far faceoff circle and hit him on the tape with the pass. Plekanec had the open net.
The Perils of Thomas – Thomas Vanek lasted one shift on the line with Desharnais/Pacioretty and, apparently not likeing the matchup, Michel Therrien moved him. He played the rest of the night with Plekanec and Bournival. He set up the first goal beautifully. Late in the period he appeared to be caught in the middle of one of P.K. Subban’s hits. Subban got a penalty and Vanek appeared dazed on the play and missed the rest of the period. He was back for the second period and finished the game. Three points in three games against the Bruins.
One for the Crowd – Subban served his penalty. About to come out of the box, Tuukka Rask was furiously rapping his stick to warn his teammates but the crowd was so loud he couldn’t be heard. Subban out of the box. Eller spotted him. Breakaway and 2-0.
Prime Time – 2-0 lead. 2 points for Subban. Subban has 3 goals 3 assists in the three games against the Bruins. He has a six game points streak. Eleven points in seven games and now second among all playoff scorers, three points behind Anaheim’s Anze Kopitar who has played in two more games. Subban is only the third Candiens defenseman to record three straight multipoint playoff games joining Larry Robinson in 1978 when he did it five straight games and again in 1987. J.C. Tremblay did it in 1971.
Major Contributor – I have no idea why John Tortorella and the Vancouver front office felt Dale Weise was a disposable part. Whatever the reason, Weise has become a valued and versatile member of the Canadiens. Another goal and an assist. His goal was the game winner thanks to a breakaway pass from Daniel Briere. Four points in seven games for a player that is on the fourth line more often than not and averaging 10:46 a game is a major bonus.
Bounce Back – After a terrible minus-3 afternoon in Boston Saturday, Lars Eller was right back in gear. An assist on the Subban goal and the empty netter unassisted thanks to an aggressive check at his own blueline to spring himself free. And how many out there picked Eller in the playoff pool? He has 3 goals, 5 assists in 7 games.
Got The Message – The Bruins stayed out of the penalty box for the first time in the series. Each team was assessed one power play and came up empty. The Bruins haven’t scored a playoff power play goal against the Canadiens since game two of the 2009 series, a 35-0 stretch.
About Those Third Periods – The final period looked similar to every third period in this series. The Canadiens falling back, Boston coming on. The Bruins gave themselves a chance when Jarome Iginla deflected a shot past Price with 2:16 left but falling back or not, the Bruins managed only seven shots in the period as the Canadiens eventually locked it down. Eight of the ten goals scored by the Bruins in the series have come in the third period.
Also Worth Noting – …..This was the seventh consecutive game in which the Canadiens scored three or more goals. They have now won six of their seven playoff games.…..The Canadiens lead all teams in playoff scoring, averaging 3.86 per game. ……Putting Douglas Murray in the lineup had the desired effect. Slow or not, he moved the Bruins around at will deep in his own zone and his game was pretty close to mistake-free. Five recorded hits and 4 blocked shots on his sheet. …..The Bruins bring out the best in Alexei Emelin. He led the Habs in both hits (7) and blocked shots (5). …..Another 25:50 in ice time for Subban. 27:34 is his game average for the playoffs. …….Rene Bourque led the Canadiens with five shots on goal. Max Pacioretty had four. …..Has anybody noticed that Mike Weaver is leading the Canadiens at plus-6. Weaver, Weise, Vanek. Is it possible to do a better job of deepening a lineup at the trade deadline than Marc Bergevin did back in March. Not than I can remember.
Moving On – The Canadiens will still be trying to hold on to home ice advantage in the series when they face the Bruins on Thursday at the Bell Centre then it’s back to Boston for Game Five Saturday at 7:00pm.