Bruins physical game sends the series back to Raleigh. Milan Lucic's devastating and possibly questionable hit on Dennis Seidenberg roughly fifteen minutes into the first period set the tone for the Bruins tonight. I say questionable because Looch had the big #4 on Seidenberg's back facing him the whole time. He didn't charge him – he never skated full speed into him and he didn't board him but when the Hurricane defenseman turned up ice, Looch finished him off. It wasn't just the hit that got them going – the Bruins had played a solid first period up to that point. In fact, the Hurricanes hadn't registered a shot on goal until there was 8:56 left in the first period. For the first time since the Montreal series, the Bruins played with some urgency and quite possibly some hatred for the Canes. Tim Thomas had said after game one that after playing Montreal, the day leading up to that first game felt like a regular season game. Claude Julien said afterwards, “It was a little bit of everything. I think our backs were against the wall. Our backs still are against the wall, and at one point, you’ve got to decide what you want to do. Tonight, game five, was to create game six. We’re going into game six to hopefully create game seven, and if you don’t leave it all out on the ice and you’re not willing to do the things you need to do to win, then you’re going home. Our guys made that decision tonight to go out there and play the way they needed to play to succeed, and then we got the results.”
After the Lucic hit, the Bruins created some offensive chances, eventually leading to a Seidenberg slashing penalty whistled with 5:19 left in the opening period. On the faceoff, Marc Savard won the draw back to Dennis Wideman. Wides went across the line to Chara who blasted a rising shot that Mark Recchi defelcted past Cam Ward just eight seconds into the power play.
It looked like the Bruins would take that 1-0 lead into the break until Savard and Kessel hooked up to double the lead. Kessel rushed the puck up the right wing, gaining the Canes blueline. He dropped the puck to Savard and then curled to the slot, eventually “fading” into no man's land where he was left alone to Cam Ward's right. Savvy, one of the best passer's in the league, found Kessel through the maze of sticks and legs for the one timer into the open side of the net. About a minute before the B's second goal, Thomas made a pair of saves preserving the lead and keeping the momentum in Boston's favor. During a Hurricane power play, his first save was on Sergei Samsonov but he left a rebound for Joni Pitkanen that he had to be very acrobatic to make the save. Thomas also had the presence to clear the puck out of the zone while flat on his stomach.
The second period started out like the first period ended. Four and a half minutes in, Eric Stall rushed down the left wing and met Zdeno Chara full force. Chara stood Stall up at the blue line and knocked him flat. On the turnover, Chara teamed up with Savard and Kessel to extend the lead to 3-0. Savard and Kessel skated down the wing while Chara went straight down the slot to Cam Ward's paint. With the traffic in front, Savvy once again found a wide open Kessel who was cutting through the slot from left to right. Kessel made no mistake, putting the puck back to Ward's left – as he drew him to one side of the net, putting the puck back to where he was. A beauty of a goal set up by the Bruins physical play. The second ended with a good scare to Bruin fans everywhere. Behind the play, as the Bruins were heading up ice, Bruin pest Jussi Jokinen whacked Chara with a classic two hander to the back of Big Z's leg. The slash left Chara writhing on the ice in obvious pain.
The third period was a penalty filled, constant trip to the box for both teams. There were three main altercations that ratcheted the the intensity of the series. Early on, it was Shawn Thornton and Tim Conboy throwing punches at each other. A silly play by Anton Babchuk as he whacked Thornton with a high stick in the midst of the scrum. The rugged Bruin was going to the box for a cross check and ended up with six minutes (two for the cross check and four for roughing). Babchuk got two for the high stick and Tim Conboy got four for roughing it up with Thornton.
The final Bruin goal was scored by Milan Lucic with only seven and a half minutes to go in the contest. The big winger blasted in a rebound off of a Michael Ryder shot. Patrice Bergeron also assisted on the goal. Thirty seconds later, it was Conboy looking for some more. He and Mark Stuart got together at center ice with Stewy getting the better of the scrap. Then it really got ugly. Matt Cullen and Aaron Ward were tangling when Scott Walker jumped in. Ward gave Walker a shove to separate himself knowing he and Cullen were getting penalties. That's when Walker dropped his gloves and then dropped Ward with a brutal right to Ward's face. During Julien's post game press conference, while discussing the extra curricular activities throughout the evening, he dropped a bomb saying, “Well, again, it’s playoff hockey. There’s obviously a lot of, the emotions run high. The slash on Zdeno was a cheap shot. We all know that, but I thought the Walker incident was certainly something that he shouldn’t be proud of, because obviously the other guy is not ready to fight or willing to fight, and right now, I think we fear that he’s got a broken orbital bone, and that’s what our doctors fear right now, and it looks like that may be the case. And obviously something like that is not something that you want to see your player put in that position, and he was trying to be disciplined. Walker decided to do something a little different to come in and help his teammate, but hopefully people that are in charge will do their job and decide what they want to do with it.”
Aaron Ward's status for Tuesday night is now in serious doubt. The blueline is really thin now with the losses of Matt Hunwick, Andrew Ference and now possibly, Ward.
Tonight's three stars
1- Chara. He was a monster. Big, physical and took no prisoners. Also chipped in with a pair of assists on the offensive end.
2- Kessel with a pair of goals. He and Savard really had their “A” game on tonight.
3- Thomas with the shutout. He only faced 19 shots but was big early on the save on Pitkanen. He doesn't stop that one and it's a 1-1 game and things could have gone either way. He preserved the lead, the team built on it and we are onto game six on Tuesday night.
Don't forget to check out Chris Cote's views from the Carolina side.
As always, I can be reached here at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
About the Author
Written by Jim Mulligan