The Montreal Canadiens stayed alive in grand fashion on Monday night at the Bell Centre blowing the doors off the Boston Bruins, 4-0.
It wasn’t the Bruins night in the least bit. Milan Lucic missed an open net. Loui Eriksson hit a crossbar. There was miscommunication everywhere. Tempers flew toward the end of the game.
Most importantly, it was sloppy from the get-go starting with Kevan Miller misplaying a pass by Torey Krug in front of Tuukka Rask early on, which led to the first goal by Lars Eller.
It was much of the same from there. Rask and Zdeno Chara had a miscue which led to Max Pacioretty’s first goal of the series. Then, a high-sticking penalty to Gregory Campbell led to a power-play goal by Thomas Vanek for the 3-0 lead. Vanek later added an empty netter as the Habs forced a seventh and decisive game for Wednesday night at the TD Garden.
Vanek had been quiet since his two-goal performance in Game 2 against the Black and Gold, but Monday night he was up to his old tricks again, being that thorn in the Bruins side. His two goals on Rask now gives him five total for the postseason.
Vanek was available at the deadline for the Bruins to pursue, but for whatever reason they decided to stick with the group they had and the B’s management are getting a first look at the talent they missed out on.
The fifth overall pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft now has 32 goals and 32 assists in 56 games in his career against the Bruins. The Black and Gold do not want him to get hot now especially with only one game to play in a winner-take-all Game 7.
The B’s did not score first, they did not capitalize on their power-play nor did they keep their discipline. Vanek and the Habs capitalized on all the mistakes the B’s made on the night-and there were a lot. We can talk about bad “puck luck”, but it just was an overall bad effort by the Black and Gold tonight.
Vanek now leads the Canadiens in playoff scoring eclipsing Rene Bourque, Brendan Gallagher, Lars Eller and P.K. Subban. He does score in bunches which goes unnoticed when he has lapses of not scoring for a handful of games, but it doesn’t go silently into the night as the media was bashing him for his lack of scoring earlier in the post season. Well, on Monday night he can board the flight back to Boston with a big smile on his face as he helped his team to yet another Game 7 against the Bruins.
Carey Price pitched a 26-save shutout, but he really never was tested. The B’s failed on every good opportunity they had or they saw Mike Weaver diving in front of their shot, limiting Price’s need to make the save.
Vanek played hero on this night with his two-goal effort. Bruins fans hope he doesn’t strike again in Game 7.