Habs Fever: A perfect road game
Published Thursday, April 14, 2011 11:30PM EDT
How many ways did the Habs play the perfect road game on Thursday in Boston? Just about all of them.
The Habs did very little wrong in employing the same type of game that took them to the conference final last year. And when they did do something wrong, Carey Price was there to bail them out.
Right from the first three shifts, it was clear that this was not going to be the type of game that saw Boston score 15 times in the Habs last two visits.
The type of hockey that I envisioned when calling a Bruins series win in five never materialized, not even in the slightest.
The Bruins did not lay out the body and dominate physically. They did not attack the net and hit Price twice in the first ten minutes. They did not crowd the crease, nor screen him, nor get well positioned for rebounds.
Claude Julien promised after the game that he would address the issue, but credit goes to the Habs that something the Bruins clearly wanted to execute did not happen.
What did happen?
The Habs fronted to near perfection. They blocked out and they simply blocked. Sopel showed why they brought him here. Gill showed why the regular season and the playoffs are two different animals. Subban showed that he is ready to handle the likes of Lucic shift for shift.
We thought that was probable, but who saw Pyatt and Eller getting more and more Lucic-Horton-Krejci face time as the game went on?
Jacques Martin. That's who. The guy who the city wanted fired three weeks ago stole home ice advantage again.
The playoffs is all about elevation to a higher level. Thomas Plekanec played his best game in months and showed that he gets it and the "little girl" alter ego is in the closet to stay.
How can you not be impressed by a 6-5 shot total in the third period? That's road hockey at its finest considering Boston needed a goal.
That was a team with a game plan and they executed it.
Boston after was a team with a short fuse. Krejci, when asked about Subban. said "I don't like him." Thomas, asked about the first goal, said "What am I, a play by play announcer?" And Julien, when asked if he was going to be more physical, said "Now why would I tell you that?"
If the mission were only one game.
Boston will come out hungrier in Game 2, but you also have to like the Habs experience to have the leadership group ground the team, keep the high feeling muted, and do the same things Saturday.
It looked a lot like last year. Now the job is to keep writing the same script.
Chapter one was a good read.
Check out our other recent Habs blogs
The Engels Angle by Eric Engels
The Daily Hab-it by Arpon Basu