System 1 – Boston 0
Trailing 1-0 in their own building, the Bruins had FIVE shots on goal during the third period.
Jacques Martin rolled three centres – Tomas Plekanec, Scott Gomez and Lars Eller – and superb five-man zone D for 20 minutes to nail this one down tight.
Even during the second period, when Carey Price had to make 18 saves – the Martin puck support system ensured that the goaltender faced few high-percentage scoring chances.
How many shots came from the slot?
How many rebounds did the Bruins get to?
Answer to both questions: Very few.
So many heroes:
• Price, of course. First win since 2008, third playoff shutout … all against Boston. TOTALLY outplayed Vézina rival Tim Thomas, who was beaten twice on 20 shots and sucked on the insurance goal. And we LOVED the wink at Brent Sopel.
• Plekanec, who played like his sparse hair was on fire in all three zones and managed to sucker Zdeno Chara into a late-game penalty.
• Gomez, who set up Brian Gionta’s first goal early and pounced on a Milan Lucic screw-up to feed Gionta for the clincher.
• The captain, of course. What a money player!
• Andrei Kostitsyn, playing hurt after blocking a Chara shot, dropped down to play with Eller for a while and distinguished himself with hustling back-pressure D.
• P.K. Subban played a quiet game, by his standards. He kept his flamboyance under control, as befits a playoff opener, and I actually thought he had an off-game until I looked at the stat sheet: 27 minutes! Two minutes more than Chara!! What a stud the kid is.
• The whole dang D corps. I was worried about the third pairing, Jaro Spacek and Brent Sopel, but Spatcho showed his calm and experience, while Sopel blocked four shots. James Wisniewski also had four blocks. Roman Hamrlik only had to play 19 minutes, and his energy helped during the third period. And what a job keeping the likes of Chara and Horton out of Price’s kitchen.
• Ryan White had seven hits in eight minutes of ice time. Lucic had two in 18:23.
• Eller was a respectable 6-6 on draws and rose to the challenge of Claude Julien playing the David Krejci line against him.
Hey, I could just list the whole roster.
It was that kind of team effort – a renewal of what we saw a year ago on the miracle run to the final.
But it’s only one game.
Julien, coaching for his job, will have the Bruins ready for Game 2.
But Martin has a couple days to look at tape.
And he’s the smarter coach.