Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins: Biggest Takeaways from Game 2
Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban's sublime efforts should have occupied fans and media alike, but that did not happen.
While racism in sports is an ongoing issue across North America and in need of further discussion, it was good to return our focus to the ice for Game 2.
After firing 51 shots on goal in Game 1, the Bruins hoped to continue the pressure, while the Habs were looking to shore up their defensive game.
It was another fantastic game on Saturday afternoon, with the Bruins prevailing 5-3 and knotting the series at one, as reported in The Globe and Mail. The teams will now head back to Montreal for the next two games.
Once again, there was a lot to chew on for all. Here are our biggest takeaways from Game 2.
Montreal Is Dominating the Special Teams Battle
The Canadiens are destroying the Bruins on special teams. Five-on-five play is a different story, but Montreal's power play has been lethal.
The Canadiens have scored on four of nine opportunities so far, while the Bruins have yet to hit the scoreboard when up a man.
The Bruins have had just five power-play opportunities. That is another matter altogether, but it is difficult to picture the Bruins winning this series if they can't score with the man advantage.
Solving Carey Price at even strength can be checked off the list, but getting traffic in front of him on the power play remains a huge priority for Boston.
The Bruins Need to Skip to the 3rd Period
The Bruins are a dominant third-period team. Whether it's great coaching, stamina, confidence, will or whatever we want to surmise, the bottom line is that this team loves to battle in the final 20 minutes of 60.
The Bruins scored 104 times in the third period in the regular season, which was easily the best in the NHL.
This trend has continued in the playoffs, with 12 of their 22 goals coming in the third frame.
Line matching will aid the Canadiens with the games moving to La Belle Province, but it is difficult to change an entire team's mentality.
Montreal knows what to expect in the third period from the Bruins. Yet, questions remain about its ability to contain, let alone stop, the Bruins' attack.
Carey Price Is No Longer Unbeatable
Opponents don't like to talk about it, but there can be no question that Carey Price was in the heads of the Bruins heading into the third period.
Yes, they got to him in Game 1. But the Habs still won that game and looked poised to steal another game at the TD Garden.
In just 5:32 of play, the Bruins opened the floodgates and were able to take the lead with the Reilly Smith goal.
The Bruins should be thinking that Price is no longer superhuman after peppering him with shots once again. The Corsi numbers were not pretty again for Montreal, with the team losing the total shot differential 41-30 at five-on-five, per Extra Skater.
Expect the Bruins to come out firing at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night.
P.K. Subban Did His Talking on the Ice
P.K. Subban is a Norris Trophy winner. He's an articulate and intelligent young man. He's also proven that he's one of the most focused athletes in the NHL today.
He followed up one great performance with another one Saturday. The 6'0" native of Toronto, Ontario, posted two assists after scoring twice in the series opener.
He was on the ice for 26:58 and was a force in all three zones. This was all after the firestorm that was the last 48 hours.
No one expects Boston fans to love Subban, but they should respect him given his exemplary performance in the first two games.
Tuukka Rask Can Beat Montreal in Boston
This victory for Tuukka Rask was his first against Montreal on home ice. This statistic was truly flabbergasting.
The Finnish star was winless in nine previous games, so this game should go a long way in bolstering his confidence.
Sometimes things really don't go well against certain clubs, while some players flourish against other organizations. The former was certainly the case for Rask versus les Canadiens.
If Rask has turned the corner against these bitter rivals, Boston might be able to make short work of the Canadiens given the team's ability to outplay Montreal for long stretches as the series has progressed.
Rask's overall record heading into this game was just three wins in 16 games.
Has the tide turned for the better for Rask?
Fans on both sides of this wonderful rivalry can't wait to find out. Tuesday can't come soon enough for hockey fans, and we know that Rask will get at least one more home game in the series as it's going at least five now.
All stats can be found on NHL.com unless otherwise noted.