This was the big one.
Quite possibly the most anticipated game of the season and possibly the last few years, this was the first game against Montreal since Zdeno Chara took out Max Pacioretty by checking him into a stanchion at the Bell Center on March 8th. Since that fateful night, the respective fanbases have been whipped into a frenzy over the hit. The media in both markets have only fanned the flames. Reports of 9-1-1 calls in Montreal to bitch about the hit. Possible police investigations. Rampant bitching by the Habs fans despite their blatant hypocrisy.
For the record, my take on the hit was that it was clean, but unfortunate nonetheless. Had Chara hit him two feet further up the ice, it's nothing more than a check into the boards. Chara was assessed a 5 minute major for interference and was given a game misconduct. Those calls were fair and all that were needed to officiate the situation. No suspension was deserved nor was one meted out by the NHL.
And so all eyes were on the TD Bank Garden on this Thursday night.
Let's see how it played out:
Just the facts, Jack (Edwards)
- Regular Season game #72, home game #35
- Boston Bruins (40-22-10, 1st in Northeast Div.) vs. Montreal Canadiens (40-27-7, 2nd in Northeast Div.)
- Sixth and final meeting of the season between these two teams with the Habs taking 4 out of 5 thus far.
John Blue Plate Special
After a really bad road trip and having missed out on the Devils game two days prior, I told Heather that it might be time to change things up as far as our pregame meal went.
So we went with the Naked Orr, teriyaki style with well done onion rings.
Heather's not a fan of cheese or veggies on her steak tip sub (though I am), but I'm willing to take one for the team in the name of good mojo. And the teriyaki marinade makes up for it. The one the Fours uses has Chinese five spice powder in it and it really adds a whole other dimension to the dish.
As always, there's fairly decent representation from the Habs fans and some of them break out the formalwear for the evening.
Let's take a look:
Late 60's Jean Beliveau Away
One of the all-time greats and by many accounts a true gentleman. Except he was a Hab, so he sucks (in a Derek Jeter/Yankees way).
Mid-80's Larry Robinson Away
Another Hall of Famer. But he was a Hab and later coached the Devils. Screw him.
Early-80's Guy LaFleur Away
"The Flower" sucks.
The Row 11 Rundown
Being the biggest game of the year, you'd better believe the entire 307 crew was in the house for this one.
Doosh of the Day
Normally, with the Habs in town, I have a real sense of dread leading up to the game because more often that not some fans will act like idiots and ruin the atmosphere, whether it's misguided jingoism, acting like jerks to other fans or not paying attention to the game.
But you know what? It didn't happen at this game. At all.
With so much at stake, people that were at this game were there for one reason - to see the game and nothing else. This was a battle that was only going to be settled on the ice and not the stands. Tickets were in high demand - seats in my section were getting five times the face value on StubHub. This was not a social event to be at, it was a rivalry game at it's best. People in the seats were fans and fans only.
And because of that it was the best crowd all season long. No one standing up during play. No drunks falling all over the place. No skanky 20 year olds taking pictures of their friends all game long.
And for this I am more than happy to announce there was no Doosh of the Day at this game.
It's a miracle!
The Clothes Line
I gotta be honest. I found nothing out of the ordinary nor anything worth taking a picture of that would merit discussion at this game. Then again, I really didn't leave much seat much, even at intermission.
As for what I wore, I broke out the 1991-2 throwback Neely for the occasion.
The Lobel Prize
Montreal has three former Bruins on its roster after the trade deadline with the addition of Paul Mara , joining Hal Gill and Alex Auld.
Let's see how they did:
Mara finished a -1 with 3 shots on goal in 11:26 of ice time.
Gill finished a -2 with no shots on goal in 19:57 of ice time.
Auld stopped 6 of 8 shots in 15:28 of mop-up time after Carey Price was pulled in the third period after giving up 5 goals. One of the Goals Auld gave up was a 3 on 5 shorthanded tally by Gregory Campbell.
All in all, a very good night for the Bruins.
The Home End
The single most anticipated game in recent memory, this one lived up to all its billing, as far as a Bruins fan was concerned.
A 7-0 shutout where the Bruins had a 3 goal lead after one period, an absolutely fantastic second period where they broke the Habs' spirit and a thrid period where they chased Carey Price and tacked on another 4 goals including the aforemention 3 on 5 shortie, which may have been the greatest demoralizing goal I've seen in the regular season. Zdeno Chara was an absolute beast, finishing a +3 with 3 assists and 3 shots in 20:49 of ice time. Tim Thomas notched his 8th shutout of the season and the 25th of his career.
But the best part, other than the fact that this was the game of the year, was that the Bruins demonstrated how good they could be when they use their will and strength to physically beat a weaker opponent.