The Montreal Canadiens dropped a 4-2 decision to the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of their second round series, and now trail the series 3-2. The Habs will face elimination for the first time this season, when they host the Bruins tomorrow night in Game 6.
Carl Soderberg opened the scoring for the Bruins with 6:40 to play in the opening period. Tomas Plekanec had iced the puck, and then lost the ensuing faceoff to Soderberg. The puck was sent behind the Habs goal by Matt Bartkowski, where Loui Eriksson picked it up and found a wide open Soderberg in front of the goal. Soderberg beat Plekanec to the net and one timed the pass behind a helpless Carey Price to make it 1-0 after the first.
Plenty of fans were quick to blame Douglas Murray for the goal since he happened to be on the ice. However, Plekanec set up the defensive zone draw by icing the puck, then lost the draw and left the opposing center wide open in the slot.
Plekanec’s tough night did not end there. Late in the first period he drove to the opponent’s goal and missed an open net tap in that would have tied the game. He then crashed into Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and was sent off for goaltender interference.
Just 26 seconds after the Bruins second goal, Tomas Plekanec found himself in the box once again when he got his stick up high on Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Boston’s power play would connect once again just seconds into this advantage, as Jarome Iginla was left all alone in front of Price.
Defenseman Torey Krug made a perfect backhand pass to Iginla who fired the puck through the legs of Price to give the Bruins a commanding three goal lead.
The Canadiens finally got on the board when their power play connected for the fifth time in the series. Brendan Gallagher was hit hard into the boards in the corner but gathered himself and headed to the front of the Bruins goal. He was immediately rewarded when a Plekanec shot hit the pesky winger and landed in the back of the net.
The Canadiens entered the third period down 3-1, and though they outshot the Bruins in the frame, they had a very difficult time penetrating the Bruins defense. Boston played a perfect third period, shutting down the Habs attack and not allowing any scoring chances against.
Boston then put the game out of reach when Loui Eriksson banged in a Matt Fraser rebound to make it 4-1 with less than six minutes to play.
P.K. Subban hammered home a perfect shot on a power play with 2:29 to play and pull the Habs within two goals. However, that was as close as the Canadiens would get in Game 5.
After sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning in round one, the Habs are now on the ropes for the first time this season. They head back to the Bell Centre for Game 6 tomorrow night, where they have only allowed eight goals in four games this postseason, and have a chance to extend things to a Game 7.
The Montreal Canadiens have been a resilient bunch all year, so I would expect them to play an excellent game tomorrow night in front of their home fans.