Boston Musings, In-Game Scribbles
April 9, 2009, by Homme De Sept-Iles
Montreal 4 at Boston 5 (OT)
Surprise, surprise. Mathieu Schneider is dressed for the game tonight. Mike Boone of the Gazette suggested earlier that it is a rotator cuff injury and that it will still require surgery. Schneider reportedly got a second opinion in New York City.
Carey Price faces Tim Thomas. Price’s numbers are not what the great pundits of Ontario and beyond have foreseen. But it is his second game back from his illness and he should be much sharper tonight.
Yanick Weber is a call-up from Hamilton but O’Byrne stays in the lineup.
Ligne Internationale starts. Very physical start to the game. Bruins “B” looks very nice on centre ice.
Kovalev looks lively and so does Tim Thomas. One of the great athletes in net.
Weber, a career defenceman, is on a line with Metropolit and Higgins. Insurance move.
Stewart (Boston) takes a penalty and then tries to drag Plekanec in the box with him. One-wheel clown.
Power-play and Schneider is on with KTK. Weber is on the other point. And he gets a shot. Thomas freezes.
Weber is mobile and smooth. Good passer and looks up, shoulder and chest, while keeping his blade almost ninety degrees on the ice. A lot like Brisebois is able to do.
AK46 gets a late shot in the power-play. Thomas stops it. Montreal is peppering.
Lapierre takes a couple of illegal head shots that go unnoticed or uncalled. That line controls behind the Boston net for a time. Now O’Byrne is beaten in our corner. He comes back and manages to clear.
Higgins is on again and showing speed. They move the puck down and a good shot is stopped.
Quickly now to the other end and Boston creates a quality chance, backhand, and Price has to be very cat-in-the-box to get to the left post. And does with ease.
Both teams are up for the game, Boston more rough right now, Montreal more tumble. Kessell fails to get the puck into the Montreal zone and AK46 goes the other way and gets a direct shot at Thomas, unobstructed. Solid save from Thomas, centred and at the top right of his crease.
Another Boston giveaway at the Montreal blue-line. But this time there is no rush and shot.
Though I am used to Ryder being a “B” I’m strangely still unaccustomed to Chara being in Boston. Recchi’s line is on against Metropolit’s. Recchi is 41. Forty-one! That’s age, pardners.
Finally they call Boston. Interference. Stewart. Recchi hits Komisarek’s stick in order to annoy him. Officials keep anything from developing.
Stewart is throwing his water bottle and swearing. Julien is yelling like a baker. Really, why would the Bruins complain. Gainey is in black and looks on like an undertaker all the while. One knee up on the bench. Thinker’s pose.
Weber has good vision. Finds Kovalev through traffic on a long diagonal. Not every player would see and complete such a pass.
Forty-four seconds as Montreal has to clean up some good but brief Boston pressure. Boston then clears. Just enough time for one more sequence. Nothing this time. If Schneider has enough, it won’t matter in the big picture. Montreal will get their chances.
The rhythm is belligerent; interrupted pucks, shoulder on shoulder on glass and neither team settling into a long-lane skating groove and pace. The turnovers are forced and the defensive play is precisely harsh. It’s like a game two.
Some tight play and Montreal is forced to freeze after a near chance for Boston.
Komisarek is trying to get something going with Lucic. He wants a rematch for November. No dust-up. But both go to the box. Komisarek loses his helmet and stick through this process. Gets his stick back and gets gloves in his face from his new friend.
Dandenault and Metropolit with Higgins first. It’s four-on-four. Bergeron and Kobasew are the Boston pairing.
AK46 and Plekanec are on next. Hamrlik finds Tim Thomas from a distance and Thomas repels. Double-minor ends. Lucic takes a tough shot on Price and then knocks down an already off-balance O’Byrne. Price has trouble locating and falls backward to close the action.
If Florida loses or Montreal gets a point tonight, Montreal is in.
Komisarek is in a weighty physical concours tonight. This time with #22 (Shawn Thornton, Oshawa, Ontario). Nobody is giving any quarter.
Both teams are controlling the puck well, almost no unforced turnovers.
Brunet is complaining that Plekanec is losing too many one-on-one battles.
Boston skates down and gets a beauty. O’Byrne and D’Agostini are involved in rough stuff after the goal. And now AK46 is grappling. That ends voluntarily. Boston’s goal is tic, tac and Bergeron.
It’s shockingly only his eighth goal. I believe he has missed several games this season. Gorges goes to the box.
Metropolit and Higgins are the first pairing. Kostopoulos and Lapierre are next. Chance in front but Price and some friends save it. Lapierre almost but doesn’t get into a fight. Whistle goes. Hamrlik for cross-checking. On Recchi. Recchi needed a message. Hamrlik hit him three times, twice while down and Recchi’s response was physically muffled. Hamrlik is too big and too strong. He has a bit of a Serge Savard ice presence.
And now three fights erupt simultaneously. They cool off quickly. Chara hits Komisarek a few times. I think that is the Boston message to Komi. Brunet thinks that Chara should be penalized in this one.
Siren went right before the fights.
Ref is talking to Saku. Four minutes to Chara.
So, Price. What a point-blank high-left shoulder and glove shrug. Great save. One of his best of the season. From about four five feet away, his left.
Chara is like Jaws’ (James Bond) skinny younger brother. Or Tony Robbins’ less handsome brother.
Joel Bouchard says that George Laraque is there for the playoffs. And he will be there for the playoffs. Bouchard continues to say that he is not for violence but having a player like that sitting there brings a calm to the situation.
Demers warns that Montreal shouldn’t mix it up. Hit them back and move on. Don’t stop to fight because that’s what Boston wants.
Schneider tells RDS that the injury was always day-to-day and that the conclusions were entirely premature. He says he is 100%. It’s hard to tell if he is being fully honest. And if he isn’t a hundred, I wouldn’t expect him to be.
Komisarek is in the box. Chara, too. Montreal will go to the advantage in about one minute. It’s four-on-four to start.
They tell us that Montreal had just one turnover in the first.
Lapierre’s gaze is at times that of a hypnotic vampire.
There is some kind of problem with the scoreboard and there is a small technical convention involving the refs and the scorekeepers. One of the scorekeepers has a Scott Bowman hairstyle. So does Julien. Tote Vision monitor and sans serif font for the digital readout. Soft blue.
Boston is very tight defensively. They’re like a front seven that has bought into the “swarm” philosophy.
Now the power-play starts. Forty-some seconds. Kovalev gets a nice small pass, advances and shoots from the sharp underbelly of the circle. Beats Thomas high.
D’Agostini’s defensive efforts are the best I’ve seen them. Working without the puck, jamming the boards, going after the puck even if it escapes the area.
Suddenly, Plekanec comes in with Kostitsyn (Sergei is still injured) two-on-one and shoots. Tim Thomas has trouble with it but falls on it. Backward.
Montreal is now exerting control on the game. Winning faceoffs and maintaining control deep for longer periods of time. Schneider’s slapshot looks good.
They keep it deep. Latendresse and Lapierre are doing great work. All three register hits on the shift.
Patrice Bergeron gets a photo-op. But Price. Another tic-tac play. Minty.
Then Weber gets a great chance. Very close. Mister Tim Thomas.
Back down and Kessel fires it past Price. Wrister. Screen. Under the blocker.
Boston is very brave without Laraque on the ice. Especially, I-Live-On-A-Mountain Thornton. After another minute Thornton goes after O’Byrne. Thornton is a big man. Let’s see how he does later. Let’s see. No fight. Of course, O’Byrne started the melee with a stupid shoulder and stick. He is not strategic.
Thornton is still playing the offended neighbour, yelling and nodding bearded assurances at O’Byrne from box to box.
Boston goes to the man advantage. Not a lot of movement or challenge from Montreal. Looking like spooked Halloween pylons. Challenge!
Next pair does. Metropolit and Higgins. Metropolit shows some mini-magic with his stick.
Price makes a good save sliding across, legs airy akimbo.
Boston is being kept to the outside. Montreal is in a dented diamond. Recchi fires it from a distance and it sneaks in.
Play stops soon after the following faceoff. Then they drop it again. Some sort of scoring issue again.
Montreal is in trouble and Boston are ready to finish. But Boston takes a penalty. And a fight tries to break out. Lots of huggin’. Most of the players are involved. Hnidey is rocking Gorges around. I hope Laraque is taking notes. Gorges won’t drop the gloves so the stronger Hnidey is trying to pull and push Gorges off-balance. Their arms locked with one another.
Boston wants to go. Nobody likes Lapierre. Ever. He gets people even more annoyed than Begin did.
Lucic is now a self-appointed tough man of the intramurals league. Nodding and gabbing as he is escorted. And again no fights.
They ask us which coach deserves the Jack Adams. They give us four including Julien and Paul Maurice. My question? Which coach most deserves to get rehired to his old team?
Good close-up of the Penalty Timekeepers Worksheet. Lots of writing on it. Gainey has the one-foot-on-the-mountain pose again. His suit looks painfully black. Must be brand-new.
Someone is wearing a “Where’s Carbo?” t-shirt behind Gainey. It’s red.
Montreal goes to the power-play after all that (waste of time).
Boston disrupts the start of the man advantage. Finally they enter and Tanguay gets a short, quick shot. Harmless. Only a minute left.
Andrei Kostitsyn, Thomas Plekanec and Matt D’Agostini were the second line. AK46 found D’Agostini. And again, as in the Calgary game, he finds his range from beyond the slot but inside the blue line. It’s interesting and makes me wonder about his shooting vision and skill. This one, unlike the Calgary slapper, is a wrister. It’s also a less oblique angle.
More than half the period left, 12:24.
Kovalev nearly deflects a back-hander past Thomas. Puck goes the other way.
Suddenly Lucic pulls Komisarek down in an ugly manner. From behind, pulling his head most of the way back and getting him down like a bull. Or horse. Lucic is an ugly person. Twice.
Koivu is very angry. Komisarek is ok.
Lucic could have broken Komisarek’s neck. Koivu dropped his glove. Komisarek started it all by hitting Lucic questionably. And hard.
Koivu’s gloves are back on and he and Chara listen to the ref. Lucic leaves the rink.
Julien is complaining but very mildly. He can see how bad it was. Julien is a fair man. He has that “I know my guy did something wrong there” expression he sometimes gets. It’s hard to believe Lamoriello fired him after 47 wins.
They clear it all up. Again. Some last bit of talking with the Bowman guys.
Three Habs in the box. Three Bruins. And Lucic is gone. He whacked Komisarek on the leg hard and then grabbed him. A bit like the Bertuzzi incident. Same facial curdle on Lucic’s face. He should be out of hockey for that.
Montreal will get a four-minute power-play. At least. Now Bergeron limps off the ice painfully.
Ligne Internationale. Give and go. Pretty. But Koivu is stopped. Kovalev fed from the corner.
Now for Plekanec’ line. They can’t control early and give up a wide shot to Savard.
Boston has a lot of talent. And they carry it out again. And still control. Boston for about 25 seconds.
Koivu goes up against Chara. Does not back down. Goes him shoulder to shoulder (does Chara notice?). Puck makes it around. And back and then to Schneider. Boom. Shoulder worked fine there. Boom!
Latendresse comes down, shoots and hits a leg. Bounces all the way back out. Now down in the corner to the left of Price. At the point. And Montreal comes out. Latendresse is slowed down and can’t escape. Then the puck goes down the ice. Great effort from Latendresse. On his butt and complaining because he thought he prevented the icing.
So they have to stay. Metropolit loses it but Gorges grabs it and gets it out. But back in it comes. Komisarek traps someone in his old style at the top of the blue line. Reminds me of Francis’ great check-traps of the same style. Finally Montreal gets out of trouble and Higgins is on.
Higgins is using his strength. Great to see.
Weber is a smart, lane-conscious player. He forces Boston into a bad pass along the Montreal blue line. Koivu is flying. Whole line. Nearly a goal. Inexplicably fast. The old Koivu. And about three good chances. Montreal is alive and beating.
Now AK46 does some work. Plekanec is playing with fission.
Whoooooa. Carey Price. Coming across like a battleship. Fast battleship. Another great save. Who is this guy. Heard he’s from BC. (dawghawse duty has opt-out clauses)
Montreal has increased the tempo. Can Boston match?
Both teams look tired. But is it the emotional tiredness that boxers experience in a lock of wills? Cus D’Amato’s treatises on fear come to mind.
Puck slides unmanned across the Montreal crease. Bruins can’t get a stick on it.
O’Byrne seems benched.
Now D’Agostini flies in half-alone like Richard on the off-wing and fires it in. Wrister. Yes, that Richard. (Well, that’s how he did it y’know – shooting from the opposite side; for D’Agostini it’s shooting right from his left side).
Thomas is one of the most human goalie personas in the game. Unorthodox, emotional, fiery, expressive and committed. But he is not always technically sound.
Just under three minutes left in the second. This is Boston. Montreal.
Recchi bangs Kovalev. Kovalev seems not to notice, hustles ahead to the play. Puck is moving along the boards again. There are several screaming Montreal women in the crowd. On the slightest, least grave of opportunities, we can hear their fears.
This time it’s a dim two on three led by Kostopoulos.
Puck finally goes the other way and we hear a whistle. Shot bounces off Price after the whistle. And a small gathering.
Thornton is there. And he leaves the ice. Komisarek is talking and talking. They end it all.
Boston tries to make something happen on the four-on-four o close out the second. Montreal exits the puck and then Gorges takes a shot to the face as he brings the puck in.
Kovalev makes like a rabbit with one foot back over the blue line to keep a chance going. Succeeds. But no shot.
Period finally ends.
Jacques Demers gives a few chapeaus to Komisarek, Gorges and Koivu. Chapeau. Courage.
I finally agree with Bergeron. He feels Gainey should have started Laraque tonight. However, I feel the matchups might be an issue. And Bergeron adds that Gainey knows things that we don’t necessarily know.
Is this guy starting to mellow out? Or what.
We close with Demers’ message to stay disciplined and Bouchard’s advice to use short passes.
Some pro teams have been known to have Madden or Cherry or Stephen A. Smith on during intermissions. Tune in and laugh. Is Montreal one of those teams? Would you want the media coaching your team?
Julien looks thinner for the start of this period. Man does that black and gold look good on the ice. Clean ice.
Latendresse loses the faceoff.
Four-on-four. For half a minute. Lapierre line is playing smart with the puck. Very careful and precise. Thornton gets a few good chances. Mostly on his own. Three chances. Or four. Almost beats Price on a wraparound after missing a couple of shots. Now Kovalev drives it down and gets it across backhand but Thomas interrupts and holds it to his chest.
Does Montreal have an organist anymore? Boston does. All the original six teams should.
Both teams are being safe but tight. (as opposed to safe and lazy)
Boston accidentally ices it. And Bon Jovi blasts unnecessarily across the ice. Their worst single. You Give Love a Bad Name. They gave rock a bad name.
KTK is back on.
Now Metropolit. Same style. Ryder hasn’t changed. No new moves. His points total is back to normal, though.
Komisarek prevents a pass from going to the slot. Hamrlik clears someone off the puck and shoots it down the ice. Icing.
Dandenault takes a delay of game. Lofted the puck into the stands. Mistake.
Four Bruins raise their hands. Like tattle-tales. Bruin power-play.
Chara gets a long shot in on Price. Kostopoulos clears the rebound. Here comes Ryder. Over to Savard. Gets in front. One stop. Second, no. Bruins pop it in.
Chara backhands it in.
Dandenault has a grim expression as he gets back on the ice. He is on defence behind the Kovalev-Tanguay line.
Now there is a problem with the glass down to the left of Price. Bunch of older dudes come out to fix it. Khakis and Bruin hats. One old guy on skates. Quite limber for an older guy. He slides the glass lengthwise along the ice. On its side. Another guy seems to be wearing a Celtic hat. Julien calls over a slick-haired dude in a Boston gray hoodie. Gives him instructions and the dude nods. Not on the coaching staff. Now four guys bring out another piece of glass. Six Boston arena staff (yes, Fleet Centre) bring it over. Or Fleet Center if one wants to be technical about it.
Florida wins. Beat Atlanta. Montreal remains in trouble. A point will get them in.
Brunet says this glass repair has broken the two teams’ respective rhythms. We shall see.
Thirteen fifty-one left.
Dandenault shuffles up to help, Koivu drops to the point. Nothing further develops.
Now Boston has brief control. Which continues. There is a small aperture down near the corner of the rink where photographers can put their cameras for a glass-free shot. Sports Illustrated.
A rare longer pass from Gorges. Results in a difficult shot to handle for Thomas (AK46). Now Hamrlik gets a shot in. Thomas gives up the rebound. It’s taken into safety by Bruin defenders.
Brunet and Houde agree that the rhythm is broken. Houde says that the Bruins left a lot of energy in the second.
Ward is down. Holding his neck. Not a good sight. Koivu seems surprised. Ward is really hurt. Now he seems to clear up. Shoulder check from Koivu onto the jaw or neck. Ward skates off with a hunter’s look on his face. And a glance at the replay.
Price freezes a Ryder shot. They talk about him. Houde asks Brunet what happened to Ryder last season? His numbers were 30s and 25s and dropped to 14 goals last season. They show us a graphic. Brunet answers that they had taken Ryder off the power-play and that he had often been a healthy scratch. All this had an impact on his confidence.
Montreal can take over. Boston is done. They don’t have anything left. Kostopoulos line is on. And now Metropolit. Montreal forecheck is working. Weber has good forechecking ideas.
Boston brings it down for some half-hearted shooting. Montreal moves it out.
Now Kessel comes in. He is full-hearted. Wide.
Tanguay and Hamrlik combine for some drop and shoot. Tanguay stays on as Lapierre hops in. Kovalev is still on, too. Now Kovalev from behind the net. Now to the point. Kovalev to the corner. Now to the point for gorges. Kovalev in the corner. To the side for Gorges. Shot. Thomas freezes.
Montreal is taking over slowly. They have more left.
We go to commercial again. Some weird goth or emo sandwich commercial.
Ryder has decent passing abilities. He just isn’t as quick as you might like a guy to be. Of course he is a marvel as a shooter. Great stick.
Higgins and Metropolit with Weber with just over five minutes left. Boston gets it down. But Metropolit gets it out. Higgins makes something happen. Backhand. But no goal. Still in Boston’s zone. Weber. Creating. To the point. Weber does some good work to delay the puck’s exit.
Plekanec is on. Boston is picking it up again. Great hit from Bitz. Kostitsyn is sandwiched a bit going in. Still in the Boston zone. Blind pass from AK46. Puck slides down into Montreal territory. Montreal brings it back. Thomas freezes. Latendresse line is on again.
They show the Higgins replay. He really got in well. But the backhand. Couldn’t get enough wood on it. Composite. Whatever.
Shot from Dandenault off the faceoff. Frozen. Glove.
Lapierre wins the faceoff. In the corner. Bruins Stewart gets it. Then he hits Kessel in the face with the puck on a long pass. Odd. Boston tried to break in but Montreal close it up.
Only 3:03 left.
Gainey looks concerned. Arms folded. Sour lime look.
Kovalev comes in, beats Thomas. Thomas stops it. Glove. Great desperation. Tanguay is hurt. Falls. Back up. Things are getting a bit rogue elephant again.
Thomas did it with his back. Not his glove. Whatever works, baby.
Higgins beats the icing. Down in the corner. Montador. Penalty. Drawn by Higgins and Metropolit. Tanguay’s stick to the face should have been called. Julien looks like the yeast is late. Just shaking his head.
Montreal power-play. About a minute.
Boston clears. Montreal bungles. Then Thomas bungles on the other end. Nothing.
Twenty seconds. Kovalev. Schneider. Cleared. Seven seconds. Long shot. From behind his own blue line. End of period.
Montreal gets one point. They are in the playoffs.
Shots are in favour of Montreal 37 to 30. We need more numbers. Information.
Seeing the backup goalie talking with Thomas I am reminded of Rejean Lemelin.
One more minute of powerplay. Kovalev and Koivu. Schneider and (not Markov).
Schneider gets a point shot. Out and back.
Koivu and Kovalev come close.
Alone. Montador misses. I can’t type.
Now Boston. Then Montreal.
How am I going to do this in the playoffs. I can’t even think anymore.
So Montador got out of the box, puck popped out and he went in alone. He went too high.
Before that Kovalev fired a very powerful shot in the hopes of creating a hopper or weird rebound. But the bounce was in Boston’s favour. And that’s where the pass to Montador came from.
Back down in Montreal territory.
Boston scores. Off the faceoff. Another great play. Bergeron.
HDS Stars: Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Matt D’Agostini
RDS Stars: Patrice Bergeron, Matt D’Agostini, Mark Recchi