BOSTON — Carey Price sure didn’t make things easy for the Bruins in Game 1 Thursday night, nor did the Canadiens’ defense for that matter in their 2-0 victory.
Although the Bruins fired 31 shots on Price (18 of those came in the second period), the fourth year goaltender positioned himself perfectly throughout the night and didn’t give Boston many quality looks. Price’s defense also controlled things in front of his net by limiting the Black and Gold to very few second chance opportunites.
“You want to score and when you don’t it’s obviously a little frustrating,” said Bruins forward Nathan Horton. “…We played hard but we just need to fix a couple little things. It’s a long series but it’s a good experience.”
The Bruins had some quality chances, however. Brad Marchand had a couple of opportunities on a breakaway and had a golden chance slip away from him when he was on the doorstep and whiffed on a one-timer, and Zdeno Chara fired a few bullets towards Price.
The Habs, however, capitalized on the very few chances they had as Brian Gionta scored both goals.
“Obviously they found a way to capitalize on their chances and we didn’t,” Milan Lucic said. “That’s what it came down to. Obviously they played the game that they wanted to play and for ourselves we played a pretty good game, but it just goes to show that this is the playoffs here.”
Getting off to a slow start didn’t help the cause either, as Gionta scored his first goal just 2:45 into the contest. The Bruins started to generate a few chances after Gionta’s first tally in the opening period and had a chance to capitalize on the power play when Roman Hamrlik got called for interference at 7:07. However, much like it has all season, the Black and Gold had trouble converting with the man advantage, going 0-for-3 on the night.
“We had a few good shots but it seemed like he saw most of them,” said defenseman Tomas Kaberle. “We were standing beside him and in front of him, and he was able to get in front of the net.”
“We have to get more bodies in front of him and get as much traffic we can in front of the net,” Marchand added. “I thought we did a great job battling down low and making plays and doing the little things. We just have to get a little more bodies in front.”
This wasn’t the start the B’s were hoping for coming out of the gate. But they have a chance to redeem themselves in Game 2 when the try to even things up before the series shifts to the Bell Centre for Game 3.
Given the recent events of the rivalry, including the aftermath of the Zdeno Chara/Max Pacioretty incident, the Bruins will want to avoid an 0-2 hole at all costs.
“We don’t want to go down 2-0,” Horton said. “It’s a long series but we definitely don’t want to go down when we haven’t won a game at home.
“You can look at it like that, but I think you have to embrace the situation and have fun out there and really press hard to get that win, because it’s going to be a big one.”