Monday, April 21, 2008

Game 7 open thread
Boston @ Montreal

"Mental toughness is certainly the key tonight. We play tonight to live another day.

"Edge, momentum, it's all something that doesn't come into play. It's game seven, flip a coin. Both teams are playing for their lives."
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(1) Montreal v. (8) Boston

Of all the series, this might have been the most unlikely to go to Game 7 heading in.

Give Boston credit: Despite the injuries, the lack of scoring depth and the fact they have a 34-year-old starting netminder who hadn't played a postseason game until this series, they've persevered, and it's far from a lock that the Habs will be able to regroup at home. Carey Price seems rattled, and has been kept away from the press, and, as they say, the pressure's on the home team.

The Bruins were never supposed to get this far.

Patrice Bergeron's not likely to suit up, so it'll be up to Julien's motley crew up front to continue to produce. They've scored far more goals than I'd thought possible — if anything, the reasoning went, this would be a 2-1, 1-0 slew of wins for the Bruins — and have wiped out the top power play in the league.

Montreal needs more from its big guns, all into the minus column at this point, or the 2007-08 fairy tale's over early.


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17 Comments:

At 4:07 PM, April 21, 2008, Anonymous John Richardson said...

I like Carbonneau's comment today:

Montreal head coach Guy Carbonneau was asked this morning how long it will take the nervousness to go away tonight.

"About sixty minutes," he said with a smile.

Courtesy of Damien Cox's blog:

http://thestar.blogs.com/thespin/

 
At 4:19 PM, April 21, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carbo's right. 60 minutes and the nervousness of the playoffs will end for him and his team of chokers.

 
At 4:22 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger poploser said...

Kovalev's had an MVP-like year for the Habs - and he needs to have a big game tonight. He's the key to the PP, and thats been the biggest key to this series.

 
At 5:20 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Kovalev is not "the key" to the PP, if anyone is "the key" it is Markov, who has had an awful series by every measure. The guy gets little credit for being the PP QB for the best PP two years running, and therefore escapes blame for the lacklustre performance so far. He's also made very few good outlet passes or carried the puck to the blue line with very little success.

Tomas Plekanec has also been very sub-par. Kovalev is operating as a one-man show not because he's selfish, but because he has to. This is why his errors are getting magnified. He needs his teammates to be better for him to be better.

Worst Habs this playoff: Markov, Plekanec, Streit (all 3 are on the #1 PP unit, BTW). The rest don't matter. When you're Tomas Plekanec or Andrei Markov and you are outplayed by Bryan Smolinski and Patrice Brisebois, you aren't playing anywhere near your best.

Carey Price is not rattled. Show me one goal he should've stopped in Game 6. The team around him collapsed and didn't give him a chance.

 
At 5:50 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

He shouldn't have popped that rebound out to Sturm on the winner, for one.

Other Habs have been worse, but Price has allowed 10 goals in the last two games against a team that generally can't score. They won't win like that.

 
At 6:36 PM, April 21, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One major difference in the sweep of the season series is that each game, Thomas or Auld gave up an absolute momentum killing goal that frustrated the Bruins.
I saw seven of the eight, only missing the first game when Fernandez was horrible.
In Boston's wins this series Thomas hasn't given up the back breaker.
Streit and Markov have been horrible.
Higgins was useless until Koivu came back Saturday. Plekanec was better on Saturday but all three of that big line have to step it up tonight or Habs fans are going to hear all summer long about them being too soft and too Euro to win in the playoffs.

 
At 6:54 PM, April 21, 2008, Anonymous mbourque said...

Im not a huge beleiver in home ice advantage, but its got to be really tough to play (on the road) at the Bell Center, especially during the playoffs. If bruins win tonight, it will complete the new "miracle on ice". (Im not taking anything away from the USA olympic team, but still, this will be a miracle). With that said, go bruins!

 
At 7:39 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger Black Dog said...

Well, terrific first and Price looks like he's not doubting himself.

As for his teammates though ...

Now, can the Bruins keep this up? I can see them sagging and the Habs putting it away.

 
At 8:03 PM, April 21, 2008, Anonymous mbourque said...

Habs are coming out flying at the start of the second. This one doesnt look good for boston.

 
At 8:46 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger Andrew Bucholtz said...

3-0 after 40... looking pretty good for the Habs.

 
At 10:33 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger Rob said...

Shutout. I guess he wasn't rattled afterall.

 
At 10:52 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger Costa said...

The score makes it seam like a runaway, but anyone who watched that game knows that if Price doesn't absolutely commit robbery in the first period, the Habs are out. Hell of a performance.

 
At 10:56 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

All my goats were at the very least, solid tonight. Price, as expected IMO, was brilliant. He doesn't get rattled, James. Boston's chances generally came against the previous overachievers (Brisebois and Gorges in particular).

One subtle change that paved HUGE dividends was Carbo putting Kovalev with Koivu and Higgins, and having Plekanec bumped to a second line role with the Kostitsyn brothers. IMO, this is why it was a 5-0 game and not another coin flip squeaker.

Streit's goal.... thank you. That was Montreal's first two goal lead since Game 1, and that was what the whole team was looking for.

 
At 11:06 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger Costa said...

I was hoping the cameras would catch Milan Lucic and Mike Komisarek during the handshakes. I was curious to see, after all the jawing and battles they were going through in the series, whether they would be congratulatory to each other. Lucic seemed to be smiling and being very friendly to the Habs that I saw him shake with.

It's always fun to see players battle it out vehemently throughout a series and then come together and genuinely congratulate each other for their competitiveness at the end.

 
At 11:15 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Streit's goal was a thing of beauty.

Great game by the Habs; it'll be interesting to see how they fare in Round 2.

 
At 11:47 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger Costa said...

I sure hope they don't get the Rangers. The Bruins showed that a team that plays a suffocating defense style can really take them out of their game.

Philadelphia's open ice, higher scoring style would be just what the doctor ordered for them, IMO.

 
At 1:09 AM, April 22, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

I want our typical visor-wearing French guys to smack Sean Avery around.

 

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