Not all the news today was good for the Bruins…
Matt Hunwick was lost for possibly (probably) the rest of the season as he went to Massachusetts General Hospital to have his spleen removed on Saturday. The surgery was successful and Hunwick is expected to make a full recovery. The Bruins held a press conference Saturday night prior to the game and Bruins team doctor, Dr. Peter Asnis, gave us the following information.”Matt was injured on Thursday night in the second period of the game. He sustained a check. During the game, he actually felt quite fine. After the game, his only complaint was that he had an injury to his eye, which he sustained at the very end of the game. He really didn’t notice any abdominal pain at that time.
The next day, he mentioned at one point that he was having a little bit of rib discomfort, but it was nothing that he doesn’t feel from a hard check from time to time. The next day, he came in and he had no complaints. He said he felt very well. He was able to practice and had no complaints at that time. After practice, he mentioned that he was having some vague abdominal pain and some shoulder pain at which point we were contacted. He was brought immediately into the hospital for examination and a CT scan revealed that he had an injury to his spleen. He was seen by the internal medicine team and the general surgeons were contacted. Blood work was done and Matt felt well. He had no pain at the time, and he was stable based on his exam and on his bloodwork. The 24-hour period had elapsed and he was sent home with close observation.
The following morning he felt, once again, excellent. He had no complaints. He was seen for monitoring this morning, and at about 10:43 AM, he said he had a sudden increase in pain, at which time he was sent immediately back to the hospital and re-imaged. At that time the decision was made by our general surgery team to perform a splenectomy to remove the spleen, which happened at approximately 1:00 PM today and went very uneventfully. He’s now at Massachusetts General Hospital. He’s comfortable and he’s recovering in his room. Spirits are high, he feels well, and he’ll be there for a couple of days.
Onto the business on the ice. With the words like “moral victory” spoken by the Canadiens and their fans after game 1, the Bruins looked to amp up their game from the start and take those thoughts away from the boys in the other dressing room. Montreal came out and took the attack to the Bruins for the first half of the first period but Tim Thomas played well and kept the Habs at bay. In particular, the save he made on Tanguay at the 4:16 mark of the first. At the other end of the ice, Carey Price really looked bad for the Canadiens. In my opinion, when he did make saves, he looked to be fighting the puck as well as getting lost in his crease. His rebound control was sloppy. On Chuck Kobasew's goal in the first period he left a rebound just outside the paint and the result was a 2-0 Bruin advantage.
Zdeno Chara is the captain and the leader of this team. No doubt about that but Marc Savard is showing the boys he can put them on his back and carry them in the offensive zone. His four points led everyone tonight. He opened the scoring halfway through the first period. Not making the score sheet on Savard's first goal of the night is Chuck Kobasew. He got blasted along the wall and while going down, he got the puck to Phil Kessel. Kessel passed the puck to the slot where Steve Montador and Savard were barrelling in the zone. Did Montador give the puck to Savvy realizing who was the better offensive threat? Did Savvy take the puck off Montador's stick? That I'm not sure about but either way, Savvy's wrist shot beat Price and the Bruins stopped the early Canadien momentum and took the lead all at once.
About five minutes later, the line of Recchi, Kobasew and Bergeron kept control of the puck by cycling in the Montreal zone for 40-45 seconds. Eventually, Recchi's slapshot from the slot was saved but the Bruins crashed the net and put more rubber at Price. This ended up being the goal I mentioned earlier with Price leaving the puck just outside the crease and Kobasew chipped a backhander in doubling the Bruin lead. This was all the scoring the first period would have.
The Canadiens tried to get back in it during the first minute of the second period. With control in the Bruin end, Saku Koivu's pass to Alex Kovalev was a thing of beauty. He went from his right wing face off circle across the rink to Kovalev in the left wing face off circle. Once Kovalev controlled the puck, he took his time and ripped his wrist shot, low on the short side beating Thomas giving the Canadiens some life for about five minutes. Shane Hnidy, playing for the injured Hunwick, chipped in the odd goal and the Bruins were taking control of the game, putting the Habs on their heels. Marc Savard, from his belly, tossed the puck out to P.J. Axelsson at center ice. P.J. gained the offensive blueline as Hnidy followed him and called for the drop pass. Once P.J. dropped it, he drove straight to the net taking both defensemen with him. This gave “the Sheriff” enough time to pick his spot and bury his wrist shot. On this goal in particular, taking nothing away from Hnidy, was Price's positioning in the crease. From Hnidy's perspective, Price seemed to be leaning just a bit to the right post giving Hnidy the far post. Full credit to Axelsson taking both defensemen to the net and that's probably what caused Price to lose his crease positioning.
The Bruins closed out the scoring with a pair of power play goals to end the second period. The first goal was a tic-tac-toe passing play. Dennis Wideman passed to Michael Ryder in the left face off circle and he went cross ice to Marc Savard who's wrist shot went high into the net before Price could get from post to post. At 4-1 the Bruins were rolling and in complete control of the game. On the last goal of the game, the Canadiens dumped the puck down to Thomas and he noticed the penalty killers changing. With time in the period runnning down, he fired the puck towards center ice where Marc Savard carried it over the blueline and he chipped a pass to Michael Ryder. The pass was a beauty. He literally dropped it on Ryder's tape. Ryder's shot with 2.3 seconds to go beat Price high to the glove side and the rout was on. When speaking with Thomas after the game about the time left in the period and on scoring an assist on the play, he said, “I didn’t know whether they gave it to me in the first place. I didn’t really, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t have any bonuses for assists. I looked up, I saw that it was 15 seconds left right before the turnover, and I was kind of watching the puck and the clock at the same time, saw that there was 12 seconds left, and, so, yeah. I don’t know, by the time I got the pass off, I couldn’t look at the clock then, but I knew there was just enough time to at least get it down into their zone. I didn’t know if we were just going to dump it in to kill off the clock or what.”
To start the third period, Jaroslav Halak replaced Price in the Canadien net. He was tested early when Savard cut through the slot and dished a pass to P.J. Axelsson at the side of the net. Halak made a great glove save and he was perfect on all five Bruin shots in the third.
There were a couple rough moments in the final ten minutes of the game. The first, with 9:57 to go Josh Gorges challenged Patrice Bergeron at center ice. Bergy, known more for his soft hands and velvet touch passing, was willing to throw punches and he threw four stinging lefts to Gorges' head knocking him down and the two of them falling in a heap before the linsemen came in and cleaned up the combatants. With four and a half minutes remaining, Maxim Lapierre and Milan Lucic got t
heir sticks up. Lucic was battling with Matthew Schneider when Lapierre came to Schneider's aide. Lucic wasn't available after the game but I thought he went too far as he got his stick up in Lapierre's face. This got Mike Komisarek's attention and he and every other Canadien chased Lucic behind the net where tempers flared but not fights came out of. Lucic was given two minutes for cross checking and a ten minute match penalty. There was some discussion as t o the possibility of a suspension for Lucic and coach Julien was in full damage control at his press conference. When asked about the Bruins losing their discipline, the coach replied with the following, “No. Obviously you’re tip-toeing around the question that everybody wants to ask. [Milan] Lucic’s situation, obviously, he might have lost his composure a little bit in that area, but you have to remember he got elbowed in the head and then high-sticked by [Mathieu] Schneider, and then [Maxim] Lapierre comes in – Lapierre, who’s been an instigator throughout the whole series, and even during the regular season – and what Luch did is react at him coming at him. It wasn’t pre-meditated, and, in reviewing it, he hit him with his glove. He had his stick in his hands, but the glove hit the helmet. Had the stick hit him in the head, I think Lapeirre would have been down, but Lapierre stayed up and kept going at Luch. If there’s one thing, I know it certainly wasn’t pre-meditated. We all saw the [Mike] Cammalleri incident, and nothing happened there, so I just think that, you know, it was certainly not pre-meditated, and it was more about protecting himself, and in reviewing, the glove is what hit him in the helmet.”
One last point. At this time of year, special teams play is vital. Tonight, the B's were 3/5 (60%) on the power play and a perfect 1/1 on the penalty kill. For the series, the B's are 4/9 (44%) on the power play and a perfect 3/3 on the penalty kill.
Tonight's three stars
1 – Marc Savard with two goals and two assists. Savvy is the first Bruin with a four point playoff night since Adam Oates went 2G/2A on April 25, 1996 against the Florida Panther
2 – Michael Ryder with a goal and an assist. He's not saying anything pubically but I think he's really enjoying putting the Habs in the hole they are in right now.
3- Chuck Kobasew with what turned out to be the game winnig goal. The work he did on the cycle, the pass to Recchi and then following up Recchi's shot was just pure hard work. He took the hit to make the play on the Bruin first goal – that doesn't show up on the scoresheet. He was credited with 5 shots on goal and only one hit. I thought he was more physical but maybe he was just taking hits to make plays.
Next up is Game 3 from Montreal is Monday night
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Written by Jim Mulligan