Habs Fans Boo American National Anthem, Bruins Take 3-0 Lead

21 04 2009

By Jim Chandleybsinmontreal

The fans of the Les Habitants de Montreal continued their strange (and slightly offensive) practice of booing the American national anthem last night, as the Canadiens hosted the Bruins in their first home playoff game of 2009.

But more importantly, the B’s took complete control of the situation on the ice.

Boston took a 3-0 lead in the series, putting the two teams in territory where the Bruins have never lost and the Canadiens have never won.

Christopher Higgins scored in the eighth minute of the game, the product of an expected early push by the Habs to try and get an early edge back in their own building.  So the Habs had momentum and a lead.

For the next few minutes, the Bell Centre was rocking as the fans started to get into it.  But Phil Kessel was not interested in hearing anymore “Go Habs, Go” chants.  He tipped in a shot from Dennis Wideman with just over a minute left in the first.

Early in the second, Shawn Thornton scored his first goal in the playoffs to give the B’s a 2-1 lead.  But he would be answered moments later by Yannick Weber.  The score sat at 2-2 for most of the period.  With under three minutes to go in the second, former Canadien Michael Ryder scored on his old team, burying a rebound from the left slot.

Taking a 3-2 lead into the third, Boston knew they would see a barrage of shots from Montreal in the final frame.  And did the barrage ever come.  While the shots were selective, the Canadiens controlled the puck for most of the period.  But the defensive effort was truly superb.  For fans who were wondering where the third period defense was during the regular season, the B’s have answered so far in the playoffs.

When the Habs were forced to pull Carey Price in the final minute (probably a big improvement, given Price’s play of late), they paid for it.  Chuck Kobasew out-hustled the entire team to put in an empty net goal.  The B’s took a 4-2 lead that would stand for the final 30 seconds.

Boston will skate on Montreal’s ice again on Wednesday night, looking to complete the sweep.


Boston Wins Again, Takes 2-0 Lead

19 04 2009

By Jim Chandley

The Bruins sent a clear message to the Montreal Canadiens last night at the Garden:

We are a better team, our goalie is hotter than yours is right now, and you are no tougher than we are.  That was the message, and the Habs appeared to have little trouble hearing them.

Boston jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from Marc Savard and Chuck Kobasew.  Alexei Kovalev scored moments into the second to cut the lead in half.  For five minutes it looked like a game.

Five minutes later, ‘Sheriff’ Shane Hnidy scored to make it 3-1 and it would soon stop being a game.  Those few minutes between goals were the ones where Montreal needed to net another and try to swing some momentum.

After Hnidy’s goal, it started to pour.

Savard scored again three minutes later on the powerplay.  His was followed by Michael Ryder on the powerplay later in the second period.  With the game salted away at 5-1, things began to slip into the ever-familiar Bruins/Canadiens boxing match that fans are so fond of.

Josh Gorges is probably not feeling too well this afternoon.  He got rocked by an unlikely party; Patrice Bergeron decided to try and take his pound of flesh from the Canadien’s defenseman, and he was not to be denied.  Bergeron landed two punches on Gorges before he knew what had happened, and the third put Gorges firmly on his back.

From this point on, both teams got a little pride out.  Most notably, Milan Lucic cross checked Maxim Lapierre hard after a whistle (Lucic has since been suspended for tomorrow night’s game for the shot).  Fights were almost constant throughout the third as Montreal knew they were going home down 2-0.

The two will tango again on Monday night in Montreal.

The Bruins Cannot Be Stopped!

31 03 2009
The B's are on a real roll, can they keep it going?

The B's are on a real roll, can they keep it going?

By Jim Chandley

While that may be a little drastic, the Bruins have turned the effort around 180 degrees of late.

The B’s beat Tampa 3-1 in Boston on Tuesday.

They brought a great powerplay and really put the Bolts away early.  Blake Wheeler scored midway through the first and there was more to come.

Zdeno Chara and Chuck Kobasew both scored in the second on powerplays.  The game was effectively over as these goals deflated the Lightning completely.

Steven Stamkos did score for Tampa Bay in the third, but it was a day late and a dollar short.  The Bruins coasted to the 3-1 win.

Now the B’s wait for the Senators on Thursday night.  Boston is firmly in the driver’s seat to win the Eastern Conference and may look to rest some key players as the regular season draws to a close.

Bruins Forget to Lose, Take Five Point Lead in East

22 03 2009

nhl_bruins_devils_412By Jim Chandley

The Boston Bruins hosted the New Jersey Devils in a massive game at the TD BankNorth Garden today.

Boston ultimately prevailed and took a five point lead on the Devils for first place in the East with nine games left to play (the Devils have 10 remaining).

Marc Savard and Mark Recchi set up Michael Ryder on the powerplay in the first for the first goal of the game.  This was the first and only lead change of the game.

Chuck Hobasew and Savard would score early in the second before the Devils finally got on the board with a goal by Andy Greene.  Milan Lucic added another in the the second to close the scoring for the day.

The B’s play seven of their last nine against teams who (at the moment) are not in playoff positions in the standings.  On the other side of the race, New Jersey will play six teams in their last 10 games who are currently in playoff position.

This win puts the Bruins in the driver’s seat to hold home ice throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Bruins Lose to Rangers in Matinee

8 03 2009

Bruins goalie Manny Fernandez in the locker room; a place he may wish he had stayed this afternoon

By Jim Chandley

The Bruins put forth a good team effort in New York this afternoon but came up short, falling 4-3 to the Rangers.  Coach Claude Julien would probably tell you, (as he often does) that they lost as a team.

But this didn’t seem to be as much of a team loss as other recent defeats.  “You can’t win with that,” commentator Mike Millbury said during today’s broadcast.  He spoke almost accidentally and sounded rather harsh but clarified without sugar coating it, “You can not win with goal tending like Manny Fernandez has given the Bruins here today.”

Indeed, Fernandez gave up some soft goals in today’s contest.  When the Rangers drew first blood early in the 2nd, they did so on a legitimate goal by Nik Antropov.  Kobasew scored two minutes later and one could argue that the Rangers should never have seen the lead again.

Later in the period, on the powerplay, Scott Gomez found the back of the net on a wrap-around shot where Fernandez didn’t cover the entire post and let the puck sneak inside his skate.  Minutes later, Fernandez stood up when a shot was blocked in front of him.  He spun 360 degrees in the crease looking for the puck while Ryan Callahan was busy finding it and burying it.

Chara andRyder would both score early in the 3rd, clearing the way for Fernandez to leave his mistakes in the past.  Unfortunately, it was not Fernandez’s day.  With six minutes left in the game, Fernandez lost sight of a rebound andcame out entirely too far to the right slot.  The rebound had in fact gone to the left and Nikolai Zherdev put it away for what would be the game winner.

It was a tough break for the team that Fernandez had such a bad day today.  The skaters came out with some fire, hitting hard and taking part in a few scraps along the way.  They put plenty of pressure on New York’s Henrik Lundquist.  But the miscues in goal were too much to overcome.  The B’s will try again Tuesday at the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“The Bruins Just Lost and Are in Their Last 10,” said Chicken Little

5 03 2009

Is the sky falling on the Bruins?

If Chicken Little told you that the Bruins’ lead in the Eastern Conference has now shrunk to only 6 points, he’d be right on both counts.

The Bruins lost 2-1 to the lowely Coyotes tonight at the Garden.  They came out flat to start the game and didn’t find any energy until the 3rd period.

In the 1st, Chuck Kobasew scored for the Bruins and was answered a few minutes later by Scottie Upshall.  The goal was Upshall’s 2nd in 3 nights as a visitor in Boston.  He was traded at yesterday’s deadline from Philadelphia to Phoenix.

Steve Reinprecht scored mid-way through the 2nd for the Coyotes to make it 2-1.  That finished the scoring.  The Bruins put the pedal to the metal in the 3rd but had no goals to show for it.

New acquisitions Mark Recchi and Steve Montador seemed to mesh well in the Bruins’ system but it didn’t change the outcome as Boston dropped its 3rd straight game at home.

On Saturday, the Chicago Blackhawks will visit the Garden as the B’s attempt to snap their losing streak.

Bruins Skate Past Ducks, 6-0

26 02 2009

Bruins defenseman Matt Hunwick who scored the winning goal early in the game Thursday

By Jim Chandley

Boston brought intensity that we haven’t seen in some time tonight as they hosted Anaheim at the Garden.  Tim Thomas stopped 35 shots and recorded his 4th shutout of the season.

Matt Hunwick scored at 17:54 in the first.  Michael Ryder and Chuck Kobasew each netted two goals in the Second period, effectively ending the game.  Byron Bitz tacked one on in the middle of the third.

The Bruins will host Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon at 1.  The Bruins still lead the Eastern Conference with 92 points and have the second best record in all of hockey.