2009 Playoffs Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: Game 4
Montreal 1, Boston 4 (Bell Centre)
Posted by: Rocket
"Let's play. We want to play. We got another game. We earned our chance to play today."
Those were the words of Bob Gainey prior to the game said as if to emphasize that despite being down 3-0 in the series, that the Canadiens intended to give their best effort. Perhaps it was also a reminder that there are a number of teams who would have be glad to be in the playoffs who didn't make it.
The game couldn't have started any better for the Canadiens. Only 39 seconds into the game, Andrei Kostitsyn wristed a shot into the top corner past Tim Thomas and the Habs had an early 1-0 lead. The goal was set up on a nice play by Saku Koivu who carried the puck into the zone, dished to Kostitsyn and then drove to the net taking a defenseman with him.
The first period was dominated by the Canadiens. The Habs outshot the Bruins 16-7. Glen Metropolit and Chris Higgins were terrific.
There were some tense moments. On a Bruins power-play, after Max Lapierre failed on a chance to clear, Marc Savard rang the puck off the post.
But it wasn't until the last three minutes of the period that the Bruins took the lead with two quick goals. Both resulted from defensive miscues by the Habs.
The Bruins pressured the Canadiens in the second period. Carey Price made several big stops including a glove save on Phil Kessel who was all alone.
With just over 11 minutes left in the second and the Habs trailing by one, the Bell Centre boobirds were heard. With more than half the game to play, some fans were turning on the team. It was surprising.
After Kessel took a penalty for slashing, and the Canadiens power play began its shift, the booing by the 'fans' had intensified. The players had no patience. They seemed to be rushing.
As the power-play ended, Kessel received a breakway pass while coming out of the penalty box. He scored after going in all alone.
Replays would show that the play was clearly offside, but to no avail. Just another botched call. It was the point of no return for the Canadiens and for the mood of the fans.
Shortly after, the Lapierre line were caught in the offensive zone which gave the Bruins a 3-on-2 break. Michael Ryder made the score 4-1. The Habs were outshot 14-4 in the period.
Carey Price was left defenseless on all four Boston goals. Yet as he made a routine save at the end of the period, the Bell Centre fans mock cheered him. It was distasteful and undeserved.
After the game Bob Gainey said, "I suppose he (Price) could have kept his cool and not made any kind of gesture, but on the other hand, when you're being bullied, if you don't stand up for yourself, who is going to?" said Gainey. "He had two or three breakaways to stop, as well as some open scoring chances, so what's the basis of the jeering?"
Gainey continued, "He reacted. You can read into it whatever you want. The people were rude. The people were unfair. So he stood up for himself? What's wrong with that?"
It was refreshing to hear a Montreal coach who was defending his player rather than throwing them under the bus.
With a hostile Bell Centre crowd and the Bruins in shutdown mode, the Canadiens looked defeated in the third period. Kudos to Metropolit who skated hard on every shift to the end. Credit also goes to Price who ignored the fans and made several good saves in the period.
The first star for the Bruins was a former Canadien who was stripped of his confidence by the coach, and run out of Montreal by the media and some fans.
The Habs may have been beat by the Bruins but were skewered by their fans. It was shameful.
The Canadiens were bitterly disappointed that they couldn't mount a better attack against the Bruins but they were without Markov, Schneider, Tanguay and Lang. It's unclear how many of the players on the current roster will be back. They deserved a better sendoff.
Koivu chose to speak about Price after the game, "I said it before the season and I still believe it. I have a lot of confidence. The kid is going to win a Stanley Cup one day. Hopefully, I will be with him when that happens."
It was a special moment. Koivu, who has given everything to his team, yet been subjected to unwarranted criticism, was empathizing with his young goaltender. And he was looking towards a future where #11 and #31 would be hoisting a Cup together.
It is a vision that I hope is realized.
Even though PA announcer Michel Lacroix emphasized respect for the anthems, there was scattered booing during the U.S. anthem.
Starting lineup: Plekanec, Stewart, D'Agostini, Komisarek, Hamrlik
Carey Price and Tim Thomas started in goal.
Brisebois and Sergei Kostitsyn were scratched from the line-up. Markov, Schneider, Bouillon and Tanguay were out with injuries. Lang is on injured reserve.
Rocket's three stars:
1. Michael Ryder
2. David Krejci
3. Glen Metropolit
(photo credit: AP)