There was a reason many felt Montreal would pose as a significant threat to the President’s Trophy winning Bruins. Coming into the series, Boston knew the Canadiens would try to goad them into being too aggressive. As a result, Games 1 and 2 featured Montreal showing off a dominant power play. With a tied series heading to the Bell Centre, the Bruins decided to tone down the aggression in attempts to prevent the Canadiens from getting too many man-advantages. It wasn’t exactly token Boston hockey, and a sloppy loss was followed by a grind-it-out overtime win in Game 4.
Coming into yesterday’s Game 5, the Bruins had a chance to take back a series they very easily could’ve been out of if not for a few bounces. It was very obvious Boston needed to figure out a way to finally put their rivals away in convincing fashion.
For one game, at least, it was mission accomplished.
The Bruins dominated the majority of Game 5, rolling to the tune of 4-2. Not one Boston player had a negative plus/minus rating. The Bruins’ specifically saw incredible performances from everyone on their third line, which put up a combined six points. Most importantly, a power play that hadn’t scored a single goal all series cashed in twice on four opportunities.
For Boston fans, it was an incredible relief. The Bruins have spent the majority of the series controlling the pace of the game, but Montreal continued to pounce on any mistakes and lapses they came across. It was looking like Boston was going to have to continue grinding it out nonstop if they wanted to advance. But in one game, the Bruins showed everyone why they were the trendy pick to challenge for the Stanley Cup.
The real test comes tomorrow, though. Boston put on a destructive performance yesterday, and as a result they’re one win away from heading to the conference finals. But will they be able to shut down the Canadiens as forcefully when playing in Montreal? Or will things slip back to the way they were early in the series, allowing the Canadiens to force a Game 7.
If Boston was wise, they’d do everything they possibly could to wrap this up tomorrow night. Montreal has proven to be a dangerous foe, and allowing them back into the series could make things pretty dicey for the Bruins. Boston knows what it has to do to shut down the Canadiens, and now they need to do it one last time.