Photo of Brian Gionta, celebrating his winning goal, by John Mahoney of The Gazette
One more sleep – if anyone can – until Game 7.
“The bounces,” Jaro Spacek suggested, “came a little bit our way.”
I doubt Spatcho was including the bounce his head took off the side glass, after a second-period hit by Milan Lucic.
After the Bruins’ rugged forward was dispatched to an early shower, Patrice Bergeron fired the puck over the glass during the Boston penalty kill and Brian Gionta scored the winning goal during a 5-on-3 power play.
So the hit on Spatcho was the turning point, right?
Well, not really. The game, like this crazy series, was too close to point to a single event that turned the tide.
While I’m writing, lightning bolts are shooting across the Montreal night sky. I don’t know whether either team’s charter flight will be able to take off, and it will be a bumpy ride and a late check-in at the Boston hotel.
Just another bit of adversity for your Montreal Canadiens to deal with – like the Spacek injury and a first-period hit, by Adam McQuaid, that knocked Lars Eller out of the game for a long stretch.
So tired skaters at the TD Banknorth Garden?
Don’t bet on it. The old rivals have played an excellent playoff series to date, and there’s no reason to think the finale will be anything but.
“It’s a Game 7, Montreal against Boston,” said Jeff Halpern, one of the many Game 6 heroes. “I have to believe everyone will have their legs. It will be a special atmosphere.”
Hard to top the atmosphere at the Bell Centre, where the fans were FINALLY treated to a home ice win this spring.
Carey Price was overdue. He hadn’t won a playoff game on home ice in three years and two days – a frustrating streak that ended with a 31-save performance.
The Canadiens won on the basis of Jacques Martin’s frequently-cited – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! – keys to victory:
Goaltending and special teams.
The Canadiens got power-play goals from Gionta and Michael Cammalleri.
The penalty kill hung another 0-for on the Bruins, who had four PPs in Game 6. Boston is now 0-for-19 in the series.
Props to the PK guys: P.K. Subban, Hal Gill, Tomas Plekanec, Travis Moen, Halpern, Brent Sopel and Brian Gionta.
Props to Eller, who came back and joined Halpern and Mathieu Darche for a lunch-bucket third-period cycling shift that epitomized the Canadiens’ effort in staying alive.
Props to the amazing P.K., who played 27:08 and was on the point – without James Wisniewski – for both PP goals.
Props to Scott Gomez who had five SoG, played well in his own end (which has not always been the case in this series) and won 9 of 15 faceoffs.
The Canadiens were 35-27 on draws (Halpern 6-1!), and as Darche pointed out, it makes a world of difference if you don’t start every shift “chasing the puck for 15 seconds.”
Some other stuff from the stat sheet:
• Lucic, Nathan Horton (!) and Shawn Thornton were the only Bruins who didn’t register shots on goal. The Canadiens’ shot-less list included Paul Mara, Moen, Roman Hamrlik, Andrei Kostitsyn (!), Darche, Ryan White, Gill, Yannick Weber and Tom Pyatt.
• Gomez, Cammalleri, Plekanec and Gionta had 20 of the Canadiens’ 27 shots.
• The Canadiens outhit the Bruins 23-11. Mara had four, Gill three.
• Canadiens led blocked shots 27-13. Hamrlik had eight.
• Cammalleri and Plekanec played more than 25 minutes. Gionta 24:38. I’m not as worried about how much gas they’ll have in the tank in Boston as I am about Hamrlik, who played 22:05.
• Chris Lee and Kevin Pollock were predictably awful: Gionta’s disallowed goal, the severity of the call on Lucic (Mike Richard got two minutes for a far worse hit on Tim Connolly), a goaltender interference call on Patrice Bergeron that Price sold effectively.
At least we won’t see these particular zebras in Game 7.