Call of the Wilde: GAME 3: Habs 4, Bruins 2
Brian Wilde , CTV Montreal
Published Tuesday, May 6, 2014 10:58PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 7, 2014 1:05PM EDT
- The Wildest Horse is the Habs head coach. Therrien is learning his lessons well. Impressive in game 3 was his line matching, security of two centres for late game face offs, the stretch pass threat that is taking away so much of the Bruins O-zone pressure creating a fear of Habs speed, and the breaking up of the top line to allow at least one of the top two Habs scorers more freedom. Vanek was the beneficiary this game but Pacioretty could enjoy less Chara next time. One of them has less Chara at least. Also the head coach is keeping his emotions in check, and making sure his players as well don't lose focus. Therrien has learned a great deal. An impressive resume of smart decisions for Therrien against one of the best in Claude Julien.
- Carey Price beaten on two deflections. Nothing a goalie can do on deflections and screens. On clean shots - a flawless night. What Price has learned too is a remarkable high level of clock and game management. He sees the club is tired and freezes as soon as possible. There is a little bit of pressure and he freezes it. When he gets a shot on his blocker and he doesn't like the tenor of the game, the puck goes into the mesh over the glass where it can't hurt anyone. Sometimes you would swear he even kicks out the pad with the intent of clearing it. He is the world's best goalie. I said it before the Olympics. He is proving it against the man who will likely win the Vezina. In the battle of goalies, it isn't much of a battle. Price is mentally tough. The Bruins figured him out routine didn't fly. The way he threw the puck defiantly back at Krug was a telling moment that he wouldn't admit to. He's got swagger.
- A stunning turn around for Subban in these playoffs. He couldn't get the coach's confidence in the regular season and was often the only Norris Trophy winner I can ever remember regularly benched. In the playoffs, he is doing nearly everything right. He plays giant minutes now and is making Norris type decisions all night long. His goal was world class PK as Rask wasn't even close to making the save. He is stretch passing the Bruins to their wits' end. He is also single handedly winning the zone on power plays. He seems to understand now that he can do the zone entry with the fear the Bruins have of his talent to beat one of them one on one.
- Whenever Lars Eller is on with Zdeno Chara it is the only time Chara looks challenged. Eller also sent Subban away for his goal coming out of the box. Eller's putting last year's playoffs of the Gryba hit and this regular season behind him. Some guys are meant for the playoffs based on how they win puck battles which becomes the MO for playoff success and Eller is one of those guys. Eller even got the Krejci line matchup for the late shifts holding on to the lead. He was a go to guy in the final seconds. He has the coach's confidence.
- Somewhere John Tortorella must have been watching the game and been saying to himself maybe I was a little too hard on that Weise kid. Weise was in Tort's doghouse in Vancouver. The trade was a go because the Canucks couldn't find a use for the player. You watch him score a beauty on a breakaway and then get 3 quality chances soon after and think how could Vancouver missed their analysis that much. Weise skates fast. He is a warrior. He wins battles. He provides offense too.
- Plekanec with tough assignments and a high of over 20 minutes for the forwards. Plekanec was the equal of the two top Boston centres Bergeron and Krejci and that's not easy. Plekanec best game of the series.
- Vanek benefitted from the freedom of no Chara for most of the night. A huge set up for the first goal and almost a howitzer for an insurance goal that hit the bar. Vanek and Plekanec with more chemistry this go round than the first time when he was first traded. Didn't know he was such a quality passer.
- Gallagher is his usual pesky self. In the final minutes, in front of the net he took down two Bruins and skated away with his trademark smile. Don't forget too before Vanek came it was Gallagher who was on the Desharnais line. Those three reuniting isn't exactly weakening the overall chemistry. In fact, it could be a real blessing as Julien's matching got harder with Pacioretty and Vanek split apart.
- Emelin had some difficult shifts. He also took another Lucic spear with 12:05 left in the 3rd. Lucic seems to have a spearing problem. That's twice on Emelin and another time that he got a 5000 dollar fine.
- Murray got turned around at times and struggled on some shifts. However, he also laid out a key hit with a big game changer on Bergeron early. The crease didn't have the same activity with Murray in the line up. So really even the goats aren't really goats and why should they be. Everyone was quite strong and worked hard and got the job done as the Bruins only got 7 shots in the third. Not a total they're use to.
- I have long maintained that to win a Stanley Cup you have to have a 30 minute horse on D. Check through history: it is very rare to win a title without a dominating defenseman. Chara, Keith, Doughty, Lidstrom to name some from recently. I will take the team with the 30 minute horse every time. That's why Boston's acquiring Chara was one of the best moves by that organization ever. This year, Chara is facing the Habs in the second round. He is facing the Habs 39 goal man. In the first two games in Boston, when the Bruins had last change, Chara was on for Pacioretty's shifts 82 percent of the time. I was harsh on Pacioretty in the last Call of the Wilde, but Chara has been much harsher than I. Chara makes everyone look less talented than they usually are. This is not to excuse Pacioretty but to show in the playoffs you have to beat the best to be the best. Pacioretty is in the playoff learning process as was pointed out to me by a Twitter follower after I criticized the Habs scoring star. It is true. He has very little playoff experience. Well, he's certainly getting a chance to face the best test he can in this series. Head coach Therrien has to work the match ups to make sure Pacioretty sees someone like Krug for 82 percent and not the giant Chara. Pressure isn't fun but when you're Pacioretty you face a lot because much is expected of you and much is expected of you because you are the best. Pacioretty is the best Hab forward. Chara is the best Bruin defender. I always take the 30 minute D horse in these situations. Hockey is just slanted that way. Hell, Crosby has only one goal these playoffs. All this to say, if Chara keeps doing what he is doing, as in he was plus 5 in game 2, it is a tall order for anyone to score when he is on - even the best the Habs have to offer - one of the top 5 scorers this season - Max Pacioretty. Max is right now facing the greatest challenge of his life. He's past all the challenges before this. I suspect he will learn this time too what it will take. He didn't get 39 this year because he can't figure things out.
- This coaching staff has done so much well this season but they didn't work the blue line well to plan for contingencies. The defensive corps is deep but the confidence and experience in the young is not high enough to let them take a spot in the lineup when the talent could come in handy. I and everyone fully believes that Tinordi and Beaulieu are going to be great NHLers and patrol the Habs blue line for years. However they were not given enough games this season to use comfortably in these playoffs. Both should have seen more action this season to prepare them for these playoffs. I wouldn't use them now either. It is too loaded a situation. However preparation should have been made so it wasn't so overwhelming. That's not on the two kids. It's on the management to not prepare them for right now but waiting until September. Murray and Bouillon as the 6th D is working so far but what if there are injuries. The other two should have more under their belt. So far so good but something also to watch for.