Montreal and Boston met tonight for game #2 of the playoff series. This time, Sergei Kostitsyn could not score on his first presence on the ice. In fact, the score-sheet was still blanked after 18 minutes.
Boston coach Claude Julien made it clear to his guys, they had a poor game on almost all aspects during game #1 and they needed to show more resistance to a fast team like the Habs.
Judging on the way the Bruins managed to controll a big part of the first period, I think Claude Julien should earn a prize for his communication abilities.
Roman Hamrlik finally opened the score, late in the first. Sergei Kostitsyn scored his second goal in two games during the second (what about him!). By then, Price stopped everything in front of him with an amazing rebound control and his legendary calmness.
Seriously, this 20-year old guy seems to be completely over any kind of pressure. He has got one of the hardest jobs ever, with the challenge of a Stanley Cup and following the path of legends like Patrick Roy and Ken Dryden. But as he goes skating around his net during short breaks -or when Komisarek or Georges get involved in a fight- nothing can get him out of his mojo. Impressive!
Starting the third, Bruins Peter Sheafer crashed my shutout win dream, scoring on one of the rare rebounds given by "mister cool". Then Maxime Lapierre got a penalty, followed by Alexei Kovalev who had a "frustration penalty" as he got caught for slashing on Aaron Ward.
By then, I can't tell who was more frustrated, Kovalev or me (or coach Carbo)! And it was not getting any better for our dear Habs, as Boston tied the game with ten minutes to go in the third. My whole world was starting to fall apart!
Finally, a penalty on Jeremy Reich in overtime was the gold chance for Kovalev to redeem himself. The alternate Captain scored the game-ending goal that gives Montreal a 2-0 lead in the series.
On the other side, Price had a very busy night. He faced 39 shots, for his ninth straight victory and for the thirteenth straight Montreal win over the Bruins since last year. The rookie goalie has earned the first star of the game for another brilliant performance.
It should be considered as an interesting learning experience for Montreal. For both teams actually.
Claude Julien and his crew now see that it is actually possible to have a decent game plan against Montreal. Zdeno Chara and his blue-line-mates had a very good presence in front of Kovalev, while Milan Lucic was visibly assigned to disturb big Price in front of his net.
For Montreal, it is a wake-up call from the Bruins. A little more pressure and a little push from the back should not do them wrong ...
Well, I hope you enjoyed the game as much as I did. Some nice hockey, great saves from both goalies, great goals, great hits and a few brawls - a nice Saturday night.
Game #3 will be held in Boston, as early as tomorrow.
Habs all the way!