Finally. Those are the Bruins that we all know and remember.
Skating hard. Hitting hard. Getting physical and getting inside the opponents' head.
Don't poke the bear. Or in this case, do poke the bear. Get them agitated and get in their face. The Black and Gold love it.
|Opening act: Soderberg gets the Bruins on the board in the first period (via ESPN.com)|
The Bruins scored four times, twice on the power-play, to beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 in Game 5 at the TD Garden.
Carl Soderberg, Reilly Smith, Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson scored the goals for the home team, while Tuukka Rask continued his impressive play off of his shutout in Game 4, stopping 29 shots for the win.
After having their identity stripped from them in the first four games of the series and playing with a muted aggression, the Bruins found their missing intangibles and blitzed the Canadiens in Game 5, playing one of their most complete games thus far in the postseason, and without question the best in this series.
First period: Ringing the pipe
The Bruins played their best period of hockey in two games, as they dominated play through the first 20 minutes of action. Even though the Habs outshot the Bruins 9-8, it was the Bruins who carried the play and scored first on the night.
We of course couldn't have a Bruins game without the obligatory shot off the pipes for the Black and Gold, as it was Reilly Smith doing the honors just two minutes into the game. Smith skated into the middle of the ice and found the space to rip off a shot on net and Carey Price, but the puck rang off the pipe past the stick side.
Penalties, penalties and more penalties
After the refs called five penalties total in the two games at the Bell Centre, the first period saw eight penalties called, split four a piece for each team. Brad Marchand and Brendan Gallagher went off for matching unsportsmanlikes, leaving both teams with three power-plays each. Let's not worry about the B's going 0-3 on the man-advantage, as that'll turn around later on as we'll see!
Instead, it was the Bruins penalty kill that stepped it up big time in the period. The B's killed off all three penalties without the Habs getting many shots towards the net or possession in the zone. The only shaky moment came when the Habs put some action towards Rask and got the Bruins running around in their own zone after a failed clear attempt. The rest of the Habs' power-play was wiped out when Thomas Plekanec interfered with Daniel Paille in the neutral zone.
One of the best moments of the three PK's was Brad Marchand stepping up to P.K. Subban at the blueline and picking his pocket to take it the other way for a breakaway. Again, as we'll see later in the game, stopping Subban at the blueline was something the Bruins had failed to do in the first two games of the series. Allowing Subban the time and space to launch shots from the top of the key has killed the B's, but Marchand read it right and made the jump on the play.
Soderberg opens the scoring
The Soderberg - Eriksson - Fraser line dominated Game 4 in Montreal, with Fraser scoring the only goal in overtime, and they kept that same mojo going tonight in Game 5. Soderberg scored his first goal of the playoffs and his first-career postseason goal when he fired a snapshot past the stick-side of Carey Price. It all started when Thomas Plekanec iced the puck under heavy pressure from the B's the shift before. With Soderberg's line being the best in the game up to that point, coach Claude Julien pegged them to take the draw. The B's controlled the face-off, and with Loui Eriksson taking the puck behind the net, he slipped the pass to the waiting Soderberg in the slot.
Second Period: B's jump ahead 3-0
The last penalty called of the eight in the first period was Thomas Plekanec going off for goalie interference after he plowed into Tuukka Rask, in which Tuukka landed a pretty solid punch on Plekanec after the play. Just 1:04 into the period, it was Reilly Smith who doubled the lead, scoring his 4th goal of the playoffs after he tipped home Dougie Hamilton's point shot from the blueline. The other assist on the play when to Soderberg, giving him his second of three points on the night.
Plekanec wasn't done doing all he could to totally ruin the game for his team, as he got his stick high on Johnny Boychuk about 10 seconds after he exited the box from his previous penalty. Just 32 seconds after Smith's goal, it was Jarome Iginla who fired home Boston's third goal of the night, which proved to be the game-winner at the end of the day. All the credit goes to Torey Krug, as it was Krug who sent a backhand cross-ice pass through the zone to the waiting Iginla in the slot, who was left uncovered. It was Iginla's 4th of the playoffs, with the other assist going to Zdeno Chara.
Gallagher gets the Habs on the board
With Brad Marchand in the box after taking about as stupid a penalty as you could take, hooking Lars Eller through the neutral zone, the Habs finally broke through and got Montreal on the board. It was Montreal's best power-play of the night, as they applied some serious pressure on the Bruins and it eventually payed off, with Thomas Plekanec firing the shot from the face-off circle. Brendan Gallagher was in the crease and the puck deflected off of his body and past Tuukka Rask. Rask initially put up a stink about the goal, as he felt he was interfered with. The refs didn't buy it and the Canadiens were on the board.
Third period: Habs make a push, but Loui restores the three-goal lead
After the Habs had got their first tally on the board, it was important for the Bruins to not retreat into a shell and only try to kill the clock. The Habs outshot the B's 11-9 in the period, and at times it definitely felt the ice was tilted towards the Bruins zone. But the Bruins did a great job of not falling into the trap of waiting for time to run out and instead pushed out as often as possible. Their efforts payed off when the Soderberg line again got the job done, this time through Loui Eriksson.
With Carl Soderberg driving straight up the middle of the ice into the Habs' zone, he found Matt Fraser along the boards. Fraser held on to the puck for just long enough before firing a shot on the far pad of Price, generating a huge rebound. Eriksson was in prime position to jump on the loose puck, skate around Price and bury the goal in the open net at 14:12 of the period.
Subban scores late, but Bruins hold on
With Matt Bartkowski in the box for the second time in the game after he held Subban in the corner, the Habs went on their fifth power-play of the night, and it was Subban who fired home another one of his patented rockets. Just a few seconds before, Greg Campbell did a great job of closing in on Subban before he could get his shots away. Both he and Patrice Bergeron gave Subban the room he needed on his next shot, and he made it count, blowing it through the maze of bodies and past Rask for his 4th goal of the series.
But even with Carey Price pulled, the Canadiens couldn't find another goal to put past Rask and the Bruins. Boston killed the remainder of the clock to come out winners in Game 5.
This is the first time in the series a team has a winning streak, as Boston has won the last two games and is now just one win away from punching their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in four years.
First star goes to Carl Soderberg and the rest of the third line. The trio of skaters were again the best on the ice for the second consecutive game, and they set the tone for Boston early in the game, scoring the first and last goals in the contest for the Black and Gold.
Game 6 is Monday in Montreal.
I leave you with this fan giving Michel Therrien a nice round of applause