You just know the great Martin St. Louis will play his heart out on Mother’s Day.
Inspired by the future Hall of Famer, whose mother suffered a fatal heart attack Thursday, the Rangers staved off elimination in Pittsburgh Friday night and may do so again at Madison Square Garden in Game 6 on Sunday.
The Canadiens’ season could end Monday night when Boston visits the Bell Centre.
Will anyone in bleu-blanc-rouge step up like St. Louis and his fellow Blueshirts?
The 4-2 final score in Game 5 flattered the Canadiens.
Boston dominated every aspect of play in all three zones. They showed the toughness, composure and will to win of a team that’s been to the Stanley Cup final twice in the last three years.
They played like the team that was unceremoniously bounced out of the opening round by Ottawa last spring.
In his postgame remarks, Michel Therrien trotted out the clichés. His team “lost a battle, we didn’t lose the war.” The Canadiens will continue to play “one game at a time.”
Therrien thought the Canadiens began Game 5 with a good level of intensity. The coach said Boston’s power-play success shifted momentum and gave the Bruins confidence.
Know what I remember about the beginning of the game?
Brad Marchand pitchforking Brendan Gallagher to the ice before the puck was dropped on the opening faceoff. That bit of rodent aggression set the tone for a dominant and home-team performance that culminated with Shawn Thornton spraying a water bottle on P.K. Subban from the Boston bench.
On the eve of Mother’s day, Marchand and Thornton were telling the Canadiens: “We’re your Daddy.”
In the NHL, that degree of disdain demands push-back. And to their credit, Gallagher and P.K. played tough, in-your-face hockey on every shift.
Their teammates? Not so much.
Tomas Plekanec was conspicuously awful. In addition to taking three minor penalties, Plekanec was the goat on the first goal of the game.
After committing a brain-dead dump from his side of the centre line, Plekanec lost the defensive-zone faceoff to Carl Soderberg. He then failed to cover the Bruins centre, who blasted a Loui Eriksson feed past Carey Price.
The Douglas Murray Hate Brigade will point out the lumbering defenceman should have done a better job covering Eriksson behind the Canadiens’ net. But having Murray on the ice in that situation accentuates the need for Plekanec to see to his D-zone knitting.
And he didn’t.
The Canadiens didn’t lose because of Plekanec. But an off-night by their most reliable centre set the tone for a bad night at the office for his fellow veterans, the guys who are supposed to be leading this team.
Brian Gionta, who is usually a shooting machine, had one shot on goal and missed the net with another. Linemates Rene Bourque and, to a lesser degree, Lars Eller reverted to the form they’d displayed during their disappointing regular seasons.
Max Pacioretty played nearly 21 minutes. He had six shots on Tuukka Rask, plus one miss and three the Bruins blocked. Everything Max tried, however, was from the perimeter. Nothing in close, no rebounds attacked by the 39-goal scorer.
Thomas Vanek had one shot on Rask. That’s one more than he had in Game 4. Vanek had no shots in Game 1, three in Game 2, when he scored twice on redirections, and one in Game 3.
Despite impressive leftime stats in games against Boston, Vanek has played like a guy with impending unrestricted free agency on his mind. He played excellent hockey during the latter weeks of the regular season, and Vanek looked like a great trade-deadline.
But now that the games mean something … Hey, if Minnesota wants to give him more than $50 million, good luck to them.
A big difference between the Bruins and Canadiens: Milan Lucic isn’t scoring, but he dishes out seven bone-jarring hits to lead both teams in that department. Max and Vanek aren’t scoring, and you can put their pictures on milk cartons.
Another difference: While the David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron lines aren’t lighting things up, the Soderberg-Eriksson-Matt Fraser line is on fire. The Canadiens lack even-strength fire power on all three scoring lines.
The power play produced goals by Gallagher and P.K. But with the Bruins parading to the box when the game was in balance during the first period, Daniel Brière might have helped a power-play that was crap through three opportunities.
Therrien has made many good decisions during the regular season and playoffs. Inserting Brandon Prust – no shots, one hit in 8:38 of ice time – wasn’t one of them.
On L’Antichambre, Denis Gauthier said he’d have no problem sitting Brière for last season’s Brandon Prust. But scratching a proven playoff scorer for a physical player who’s too banged up to play physical hockey?
Many issues to be chewed over at Sunday brunches in Montreal.
But be nice to your Mom. It’s not her fault the Canadiens are blowing this series.