Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins: Biggest Takeaways from 2nd-Round Series
The Canadiens started strongly and took the partisan Boston Bruins crowd out of the game for the most part.
It was a great Original Six battle, and another one will follow with the Habs now facing Henrik Lundqvist and his New York Rangers.
Let's take a look at the takeaways from this Atlantic Division playoff showdown.
Tuukka Rask Lost the Goaltender Battle
Tuukka Rask was barely average, and certainly not great in this series. At the opposite end of the rink, Carey Price was spectacular on most nights, and in particular in the final two games.
In five of the seven games, Rask could not reach the .900 mark in save percentage. Quite simply, that's not good enough at this level.
Meanwhile, Carey Price bailed his team out time and time again. In the final two games, Price allowed just one goal and followed his shutout in Game 6 with a save percentage of .967 in the finale.
Price against Lundqvist should be outstanding in the battle to decide the Eastern Conference champ.
Montreal's 4th Line Came Up Big
The Canadiens' fourth line outdid the Bruins' fourth line. Despite the Bruins having superior depth throughout the regular season, in this series, Dale Weise and Daniel Briere came up big when the Habs needed them.
Weise and Briere both scored in Game 7, and Briere also had an assist.
The Canadiens were never going to be able the match the Bruins physically, but their speed, at times, was simply too much for the Bruins defenders.
P.K. Subban Was the Best Skater in the Series
Carey Price was the series MVP. P.K. Subban was next best and the most dominant skater in the series.
Subban contributed offensively and was a stalwart in his own end. His Corsi numbers were very strong in the final two games of the series in particular.
He was excellent on the power play and moved the puck as well as anyone in the series. He handled the early controversy surrounding Twitter and some ignorant "fans" with aplomb and class.
Shawn Thornton also tried to throw him off his game with a water bottle, but that didn't work, either.
The Toronto native logged a lot of quality minutes, and the Canadiens will need more of the same from him against the Rangers.
David Krejci and Brad Marchand Failed to Show
David Krejci had 26 points in 22 playoff games in 2013. He failed to duplicate this performance in 2014.
The talented first-line pivot went out like a lamb in 2014, failing to light the lamp once and registering just four assists in two playoff rounds.
Montreal rearguards Alexei Emelin and Andrei Markov played a large part in this, but players of Krejci's caliber have to fight through the tight checking at playoff time.
Krejci failed to do so, and that was a huge factor in this relatively early exit for the Beantowners.
The Bruins Don't Need to Dismantle
While there may be some hand-wringing in Boston following this loss, it would be unwise to make major changes.
Yes, the result was disappointing. Yes, some Boston players were not good. Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Tuukka Rassk and Zdeno Chara were not at their best.
However, while the Bruins trailed in the series for long stretches, their five-on-five play was very good. Over time, teams usually win when they outshoot their opponents decisively.
It wasn't the case this time, but the Bruins should be confident that their core is strong. Discipline was an issue, at times, and that is something that can be addressed in the offseason.
Their depth on defense was stretched as well with injuries to both Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg.
Some secondary players might be moved, but the Bruins will be a top team next season. This second-round loss should help fuel that.