2-0 find themselves fighting for their playoff lives Monday night.
supposed to be this way. Last season the
Bruins jumped all over the Philadelphia Flyers and took command of the series,
3 games to nil. But a meltdown of
historic proportions saw their playoff run come to an unfathomable end when
they dropped their next 4 games and lost the series to Philly 4-3.
Is history repeating?
This year’s edition
of the Boston Bruins was supposed to be a more mature, seasoned squad that
understood the perils of taking their opponent for granted and would never,
ever make that mistake again…or would they?
Well, the opponent may be different but the results thus far are equally
as devastating, particularly when you consider their opponent. The hated Canadiens are making a mockery of
the Northeast division champs and Beantown is in mourning as their rabid fans
hope for the best but are braced for the worst.
Canadiens skated into Boston as heavy underdogs on the NHL odds board in both contests and skated out
with a victory in each game. Shocking,
especially to the chalk eaters who backed the B’s in Game 1 and doubled up on
them in Game 2. The only ones who weren’t
surprised were wearing the bleau, blanc and rouge and even they must be privately
arching their eyebrows. But one person who
believes everything is going according to plan is Montreal coach Jacque Martin,
who has preached to his attentive choir the need to stick with his gameplan and
not to deviate. The results were
impressive last season when the Habs were an afterthought in the postseason but
managed to play themselves right into the Eastern Conference finals. It looks like Martin’s band of overachievers
are at it again and the Bruins are dazed and confused because of it.
Game 2 saw
Boston once again outshoot their northern neighbors, 35-26, but goaltender
Carey Price has proven he’s at his best when the money is on the line. Price outdueled his Vezina Trophy winning
counterpart Tim Thomas and has the entire Boston team shaking their collective
heads. Montreal smelled blood
immediately when B’s captain Zdeno Chara checked out of the game and checked
into Mass General Hospital for an undisclosed illness and dehydration. Without Chara, Boston seems to lose its
swagger and the Canadiens made certain they didn’t muster any of that
confidence as they attacked immediately and scored twice before the game was
even 2 ½ minutes old. The Canadiens
secured a 3-1 victory on Saturday night and has now put Boston back on their
heels as the series shifts to Montreal.
Every game is now a must win for Boston and the pressure must be at a
boiling point for a team that imploded so spectacularly last season, only to
see it happen all over again.
Can the Habs stick to the plan?
Canadiens are playing it smart. They understand
they are no match for the bigger more physical Bruins and refuse to get lured
into another blood bath like the one that occurred in Boston in early
February. They also realize power play
opportunities must be capitalized upon because the Habs have a more
opportunistic power play and a stingier penalty killing unit. Special teams are one of the few advantages
Montreal holds over Boston and it has proven to be the difference. But will there be a repeat on Monday
night? Well, the Bruins have been getting
plenty of shots on Price and have outplayed the Canadiens for the majority of
the series but are still down 2-0. I see
another tightly contested contest with two rock solid goalies between the
pipes. Who wins, who loses…who
cares?! We’ll look to cash with the Under
once again just as I advised in my column on Saturday’s game. Watch the defense rule once again and put
money in your pocket with Under 5 in the B’s/Habs tilt.