At the start of the series, most have bet Montreal in five. Six games later, they were still out there. Worse, it seems they have lost their momentum to the Bruins, who were flying high with ten goals in two games.
This is certainly not easy for a 20-year old goalie. After two consecutive losses, coming back home, in front of 21273 fans, for a do-or-die game, must be really exiting and scary. But once again, he made a difference with the way he handled the whole situation. He has lost the last two, but he won the key one.
The Bruins never won a seventh game on the road, while Montreal could especially count on Kovalev's personal statistics: to date, he is 5-0. But there is a start to everything, and if before we said that the Bruins never won in Montreal, now they do!
Coach Carbonneau kept Ryan O'Byrne, Michael Ryder and Guillaume Latendresse on healthy scratch for a second game in a row. And for the line-ups, he proceded to a few changes that brought obviously good results.
Veterans Alex Kovalev and Saku Koivu were reunited on the first trio with Chris Higgins; while Tomas Plekanec was in the center of the brothers Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn.
Early in the first, Mike Komisarek went with a shot which was deflicted right in the net by Bruins Nokelainen's stick. Lucky goal? Agreed. But I believe luck is all part of the game.
Nevertheless, we all know by now that an one goal lead does not prove anything, and certainly does not decide on the issue of the game. However, the difference this time is Carey Price and his thirteen saves in the first only.
In the second, Kovalev made a pass to Maxime Lapierre, who at his turn fed Mark Streit on a piece of art by the talented Swiss player. It was 2-0 for Montreal.
Ending the second, Andrei Kostitsyn registered his third of the series from a pass by brother Sergei, precisely at the moment when Zdeno Chara left the penalty box.
Late in the third, Mark Savard got caught for interfering on Carey Price. Patrice Brisebois went with a first shot, and AK-46 got the rebound to make it 4-0 for the Habs. Suddently, even the power play works!
Finally, younger bro Sergei Kostitsyn closes this series the same way he started it: with a goal. The rookie scored after 34 seconds in game one, and with eight seconds left in the third of game seven, he registered his third of the series.
On the other side, Carey Price has been tremendous with 25 saves. He also benefited from his teammates hard work in blocking shots. In total, 23 shots were blocked in front of him. This is his second playoff shutout, all under the eyes of NHL commissionaire Gary Bettman, legend Ken Dryden, and former Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
Steve Begin made the highlights again tonight, blocking shots, shooting, and distributing hits. He had also a breakaway after Komisarek's goal, but Thomas made the save. His trio had obviously a busy night, as the Canadiens had to kill six penalties.
Coach Guy Carbonneau had his weird lucky tie tonight. On TSN, they call it the "ugly tie", could not agree more. He had it during game one, for the 4-1 win. To date, this tie is 3-0 this season!
In Montreal, the entire city was celebrating. Between the periods, there were already a few fans singing on the streets. But just a few, since we all know from experience that it can all fall apart in a minute.
Finally, while Carey Price was shaking Tim Thomas' hand, it was the "first round parade" on Sainte Catherine. Cars, people, all Bleu Blanc Rouge, with flags and jerseys were filling the streets, closely watched by numerous police cars here and there. But as the celebrations were heating up, the downtown started to look more like the 1993 edition, with a few burnt police cars.
By the way, if you feel like celebrating, you might like this song written by a Montreal born rap singer. "Feels a little like '93". Enjoy!
(Pic: Carey Price, Yahoo Sports!)