The Montreal Canadiens did exactly what they needed to do - win Game 7 of the Habs-Bruins series and secure a spot into the second round with a final score of 5-0.
The fans at the sold out (as always) Bell Centre know it from the first spectacular save. They knew it from the first goal and starting singing "Ole Ole." And, of course, the many nervous fans at home with the TV blaring sensed it, too.
Carey Price was back to himself. He once again was the alert, mentally focused, cool-headed kid. Based on his performance tonight it can be safely argued this was one of his best games ever. Playing in tight games for the Calder Cup must have really helped him to prepare for this one. It was no shock that in his post-game chat with one of the CBC commentators Price was his typical self and barely showed an emotion.
The Kostitsyn brothers were other key contributions to the Canadiens' victory. Though they've been a bit controversial with both of their frequencies of diving penalties, their performances show their quality. Both Sergei and Andrei Kostitsyn have incredible speed. They each also contain amazing puck-handing skill. Put them together and you get one dangerous combination of talent. This was evident once again in Game 7 as both showed up on the scoreboard.
The Labatt 3 Stars of the game were Price, Alex Kovalev, and Saku Koivu - and rightfully so. We all could have predicted Price, but one person can be thanked for Kovalev and Koivu being ranked #2 and #3, respectively - Carbonneau.
Coach Guy Carbonneau made a decision for tonight's game, perhaps one he should have thought of much earlier in the series. That decision was to alter the first line to contain Kovalev, Koivu, and Christopher Higgins. We can only hope he decides to maintain this formation in Round 2 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Although the players mentioned above surely deserve the credit they've received, one thing must be noted:
This entire Game 7 matchup was a team performance, where even the players who failed to make it to the score sheet played a major factor. And don’t forget the fans.
I personally cannot wait for Round 2 of the playoffs to begin from the Habs. It is sure to be yet more excited and nerve-wracking!