Last night, the Boston Bruins came out grabbing and groping like pimple-faced boys at a high school dance.
They played hard, desperate hockey and dominated most of the 1st and 3rd periods. They out-shot and out-hit a tired-looking Montreal squad that seemed to have trouble keeping up.
The Bruins brought their "A" game (and then some) to the Bell Centre, fought tooth and nail for a "W" but... they still lost.
Playoff hockey can be cruel and unfair. Referees are required to make split-second calls at emotional times during a game. Which bench you're standing behind will determine whether you think those calls are good or bad. Sometimes the better team wins and sometimes it doesn't. Last night, the Boston Bruins were the better team.
I know this might sound strange coming from a Habs fan, but I've always prided myself on telling it like it is. If the Habs play a great game, I'll say so. Last night they slipped back into one of their regular season performances - undisciplined and sloppy.
The Habs gained some momentum in the 2nd period after a late 1st period goal by Roman Hamrlik, but the Bruins kept coming and even after being down by two in the third, tied it up to force overtime.
Alex Kovalev, who was not having a good night, finally found his game and potted the OT winner. He later admitted that last night's victory was due to "lucky bounces" and that the Habs have to play more disciplined hockey.
Claude Julien, in an emotionally controlled post-game press conference, claimed that the tripping penalty to Jeremy Reich robbed his team of a potential win. He wondered why Markov wasn't called for high sticking seconds before.
I say you can play the "blame game" till the cows come home but in the end, it's just that ugly monster called "Playoff Hockey", claiming yet another victim.