** This game review is published out-of-order due to a recent technical problem at Bleacher Report. The issue has now been resolved. **
The current members of the Canadiens were presented with a seemingly impossible task. After starting the week with two of the worst outings of the year, they had to take the ice tonight following in the skate marks of a group of living legends.
Expectations couldn't have been higher. But the Habs of the new century did not disappoint. In fact, they were the ones who elicited the loudest cheers of the evening in the Bell Centre.
Despite the score, the Bruins were certainly not pushovers. They are well-coached and pursue the puck aggressively in all zones. Boston outshot Montreal 38-to-29.
But the Canadiens played inspired hockey. The top three lines each made major contributions and the defense played their hearts out, blocking shots and being physical.
There were a number of superb performances tonight but it was Carey Price who stood above the rest. Price was exceptional particularly when the Canadiens ran into penalty trouble. He was the Habs' best penalty killer with the Bruins enjoying more than three minutes of 5-on-3 power play time.
Following the two man advantage, Mike Cammalleri scored the first of his three goals to give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead. Similarly the Habs scored the first goal of the game shortly after Price made a great save on a breakaway by Marco Sturm.
Cammalleri would add two more goals in the second with his hat trick triggering the loudest ovation heard at the Bell Centre in quite some time.
Max Pacioretty appeared on the scoresheet with one assist but deserved another as it was his screen that was the key to the first Canadiens' goal by Jaroslav Spacek. Pacioretty had four shots on goal and two blocked shots.
Glen Metropolit seemed to relish the role of playing against his former mates in a significant game. Metropolit had a goal and an assist.
Matt D'Agostini excelled with his new linemates, Scott Gomez and Sergei Kostistyn. Sergei left the games in the second period and didn't return after Shaun Thornton fell on his left knee.
In his first game back from injury, Hal Gill had a strong game especially on the penalty-killing unit. Josh Gorges returned to form, and despite helping to ruin Price's shutout, played a solid 22 minutes.
The only criticism tonight is directed at the Canadiens fourth line. They could not followup a good first shift with anything resembling NHL caliber play. They were clearly outmatched by their counterparts on the Bruins.
The Canadiens ended the game with 35 seconds of five-man keep away while the Bell Centre fans serenaded. While the siren went, the Canadiens raised their sticks to the adoring fans.
Yes, it was a perfect night indeed.
Rocket's three stars
1. Carey Price
2. Mike Cammalleri
3. Max Pacioretty
Special mentions: Glen Metropolit, Hal Gill