As Seen on NESN – The Boston Bruins fell to the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 Thursday night at the Bell Centre in game one of the first round of the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs. Nine different Canadiens earned points on the team’s four goals, while Shane Hnidy scored Boston’s lone goal.
Hoping to prove their critics wrong once more, the underdog Bruins traveled to Montreal to try to, as GM Peter Chiarelii had said in the days before, “slay the dragon.”
Unfortunately, Boston was unable to set an early tone and just 34-seconds into the first, Sergei Kostitsyn gave the Habs an early 1-0 lead.
“[We were] caught out of position,” said B's head coach Claude Julien. “We ran out of position, and instead of staying compact like we usually do, we got caught out of position.”
Then, just a few seconds later, younger brother Andrei Kostitsyn matched his brother with Montreal’s second goal at 2:02.
“We knew exactly what they were going to throw at us, we did the things that were supposed to prevent those kind of things, but somehow, I don’t know if nervousness or whatever got in the way, but we didn’t make the good decisions and it ended up costing us,” said Coach Julien. “We were just OK, and at this stage, OK’s not good enough.”
Hnidy entered the box at 5:43 on an interference call, which gave the Canadiens a chance to showcase their league-leading power play, but the Boston penalty killers kept them from widening their lead.
“You want to stay out of the box, but unfortunately it happens,” said Hnidy. “But the guys did a great job.”
Once out of the box, however, Hnidy put the B’s back in the game when he took a rebound off an attempt by Andrew Ference and pushed it past Carey Price at 8:34 to give Boston their first goal of the game, making the score 2-1.
“It was kind of a broken three-on-two, and I knew we were changing, and I had a chance to kind of jump in the play,” explained Hnidy. “I just basically went to the net, got a good shot.”
The Bruins went on the power play at 14:36 as Andrei Markov earned a delay of game penalty, but Price refused to let any of their shots through.
Then, Glen Murray was called for holding at 17:46, while Michael Komisarek joined him in the box with a hooking penalty, making the game four-on-four for nearly the rest of the first period.
Very early in the second period, Aaron Ward blocked a shot with his torso, sending him to the ice. He skated off by himself, but went to the bench to recover, returning to the game later that period.
The two teams started to get physical, and the referees had to step in on more than one occasion, including when Markov tackled Murray at 2:59 after the Bruin ran into Price.
The Habs pulled ahead by two again when Bryan Smolinksi got a shot past Tim Thomas at 5:16, after Thomas made two big saves just seconds before.
“It’s not all just bounces, it’s [getting] the bounces if you’re doing the work to get the bounces, and I think they worked very hard against us,” said Thomas, “We have to match their urgency, [and we’ve] got to give them credit for making good plays.”
Jeremy Reich and Guillame Latendresse received matching roughing penalties at 5:36 after a shoving match broke out by the Boston net, resulting in two minutes of four-on-four play.
The Black & Gold got another power play opportunity at 12:05 when Michael Ryder was called for interference.
Boston continued to play a solid game, countered by the same from Montreal, but both Price and Thomas kept their nets clear for the remainder of the period, and the Habs went to the break up 3-1 with 20 minutes to go.
“The kind of goals that they scored were the kind where we knew better,” said Coach Julien. “We should have reacted better, but for some reason we didn’t, and that cost us.”
Price made a key save to keep the Canadiens in the lead when he stopped a breakaway shot by Marco Sturm at 1:55 in the third period.
Shawn Thornton and Steve Begin engaged in a quick tousle behind the Habs net at 2:46, but the refs quickly separated the two.
With Marc Savard in the box for a 4:09 hooking call, Montreal attempted to widen their lead once again, but Thomas stopped all their shots, including one scrambling save at 5:23 after the puck came loose from his grip in the middle of a scrum around the net after a first save.
“They’ve got a great power play, [but] we were able to shut them down [late in the game],” said Savard. “The guys did a great job there.”
But Tom Kostopoulos made it a 4-1 game in favor of the Habs with a goal at 7:24.
Tempers continued to flare throughout the duration of the final period, but Boston couldn’t find the back of the net as the clock wound down, and the final score remained 4-1 in favor of Montreal.
“We’ve bounced back from a lot this year,” said Savard, “and hopefully we can do the same [on Saturday].”
Wrist shot -
1 - 0 MTL
Wrist shot -
2 - 0 MTL
2 - 1 MTL
Backhand shot -
3 - 1 MTL
Wrist shot -
4 - 1 MTL
Delaying Game-Puck over glass
Holding the stick