Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette,
While everyone else is enjoying balmy temperatures near 80 degrees, the Bruins are trying to prolong their winter and force that seventh and deciding game on Monday up in the Great White North. To do so, they’ll have to weather what is expected to be another frenzied start by a raw-meat-eating Montreal team that’s averaging an incredible 35.6 hits a game (to Boston’s 29.0).
“We know they’re going to come hard,” said center Glen Metropolit, who potted the game-winner in Thursday night’s stunning 5-1 rout of the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
“We’ve got to have a better first (period) than we did (Thursday) night. The first five minutes set the tone.”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Boxers who take a lot of body shots lose their legs first. Likewise, the Habs haven’t been the same skating team in the past two games that they were in the regular season and at the start of this series, which means gradually the competition has become more familiar and comfortable for the Bruins.
In turn, the Montreal power play has slowed as well, leading to the frustration expressed by Markov in Game 5.
Can the Habs fix it? Well, the return of Koivu might help, and Guy Carbonneau could shuffle his lines a bit, or even insert speedy Mikhael Grabovski. Without injured defenceman Mark Streit, the Habs are missing an underrated, smart and mobile blueliner.
Puck movement can replace lost team speed, but it requires confidence and cohesiveness, both of which seem to have gone missing from the Montreal attack.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
There is a possibility that the Montreal Canadiens could have captain Saku Koivu back in the lineup on Saturday.
How strong the possibility is will be determined after the morning skate, prior to the sixth game of the first-round series Saturday.
Koivu has missed the past three weeks with a fractured bone in his left foot. But he skated for the third day in a row and will determine whether he is fit after skating with his teammates in the morning.
“He skated today and he felt better,” Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. “He pushed it a little harder. He’ll skate again tomorrow and then see.”
From Jason Magder at The Gazette,
Jean-Pierre Masse was beaten and kicked in the face several times about 10:20 p.m. after Game 4 of the NHL playoffs in which the Boston Bruins lost 1-0 to the Montreal Canadiens. The incident happened on Causeway St. outside the TD Banknorth Garden, minutes after the game had ended.
Witnesses said Masse, 28, was wearing a red Canadiens jersey as he was walking by a group of about 20 Bruins fans.
“They began yelling things like, ‘Go home, you French (expletive)’ - things like that,” Hugo Contant told the Herald.
more… on what is certainly an isolated incident, but a disturbing one.
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
In a perfect world, the applause would have started with a little more than two minutes left in Game 5, which most people expected would be the end of the quarterfinal playoff series between these teams.
Everyone on their feet. White towels waving wildly. More than 21,000 mouths open, the noise getting louder and louder, and soon there would no longer have been a crowd in the Bell Centre, but a thunder engulfing it.
How sweet it would have been. No more than five games - and why not, eh? The Canadiens had finished 10 points ahead of the Bruins during the regular season. They had erased them 4-1 in the first game of this series and won the second game in overtime. Five games. No more.
Boston 5, Canadiens 1.
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
Praise the Boston head coach, but praise the Boston players as well, of course, for scrapping back in this series after seeming a bit shell-shocked in game one, the 12th of 13 consecutive losses to the Canadiens dating back to last season.
They have been in every minute since, and could have considered themselves unlucky not to have come away with another win. Though as an eighth seed going up against a one, returning to the loudest, most intimidating building in the league, there was also every reason to surrender to the inevitable.
There was every reason to surrender a whole bunch of times this year, with terrible injuries and an obvious deficit in scoring talent, during phases of the schedule when it seemed Boston was everyone’s favourite candidate to cough up a playoff spot.
from the CP via the Globe and Mail,
Glen Metropolit scored after a gaffe by goalie Carey Price to ignite a four-goal third period and keep the Boston Bruins playoff hopes alive with a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
Montreal leads the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final series 3-2 but missed a chance to clinch and now must return to Boston for Game 6 on Saturday night.
Watch the Metropolit goal…
via Habs Inside/Out,
Canadiens’ Mark Streit is day-to-day with a hip injury and will yield his place in the lineup tonight to Michael Ryder, who was a healthy scratch in Game 4.
Captain Saku Koivu skated again on his own but will not be back tonight. Nor will Francis Bouillon, though he continues to make slow progress.
from the CBC 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog,
Perhaps it’s a testament to just how impressive the young Price has been this season that no one thought to ask his coach anything about him until the very end. But how many rookies, let alone rookie goalies, can enter the maelstrom of the NHL playoffs and act like he’s playing on his backyard rink?
“Everyday he shows that he’s one of the best,” said Habs winger Steve Begin. “He’s so calm it’s unbelievable. He just likes to win, and he doesn’t like to lose. ”
Price’s shutout was not the stuff of miracles because, as he himself pointed out, the Canadiens as a team were tenacious on defence and offered very little in the way of chances to the Boston Bruins.
But that’s assuming we’re not talking about the first period of the game.
from Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette,
I have to double-check with Red Fisher, the Living Legend of Sports Journalism, but it seems to me that through most of the team’s glorious history, the Canadiens sweaters one saw at a Canadiens game were worn by Canadiens. The only ones wearing red in the stands were Forum ushers. Between shifts, Maurice Richard and the other immortals gazed out at a sea of black, blue and grey topcoats.
Dressing for hockey meant furs for the ladies, fedoras on the gents. If the referees made a bad call, Toe Blake would protest and toe rubbers would rain down on the ice.
I don’t know what a mink stole cost in 1955, but a Reebok Edge authentic Canadiens jersey will run you $300 in 2008 - $380 if you want it customized with a name and a number. And of the 21,273 who pack the Bell Centre for every Canadiens home game, at least 10,637 are wearing red or white bleu-blanc-rouge - not counting six on the ice and 14 on the bench.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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