MONTREAL – Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Montreal Canadiens by a 3-0 score after the first 40 minutes of play at the Bell Centre.
1) What a difference a period makes. The Bruins slowed things down a bit in the second period, and found a defenseman in Jarred Tinordi that they could exploit on the ice. He had a bad turnover while attempting to retrieve the puck on a face-off, and gift-wrapped a puck for Carl Soderberg in front of the net. Later in the period Andrei Markov fell down, and left Tinordi as the lone defenseman with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on the attack. That didn’t end well for the Habs either. He’s a minus-2 after the second period, and doesn’t appear ready for the big boys quite yet.
2) Carl Soderberg continues to play like a beast. He now has 15 points in his last 14 games, and has seven points since the Olympic break while helping to really turn the B’s third line into a dangerous offensive source. Two shots, two hits and a goal for the Big Swede in nine plus minutes of ice time.
3) Milan Lucic has been a game-changer for the Black and Gold. Three shots on net and five registered hits, and had a real backbreaking goal at the end of the second period. Thomas Vanek and Tomas Plekanec had the Johnny Boychuk/Matt Bartkowski pairing hemmed into the zone, but couldn’t score. On the ensuing clear Jarome Iginla fed a pass to Milan Lucic for a scorched bomb from the left circle, and the B’s made it 3-0. Game over.
4) Tuukka Rask playing very well for the Bruins with 27 saves through two periods, and looks poised to slay the Montreal beast in their own building.
5) Six shots on net for Max Pacioretty, who has been heavily involved and seen a diet of Zdeno Chara in this game
Five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Canadiens locked in a scoreless tie after the first 20 minutes:
1) The Bruins continue to look slow-footed and ill-suited to control the speedy Canadiens and were outshot 13-6 in the first period by a Habs team that had the better of the chances. Clearly, part of the issue is a lack of discipline in the neutral zone, but the Canadiens also got a couple of breakaways when Zdeno Chara was on the ice looking like he was having one of his more difficult skating nights. Two breakaways are too many against Montreal. I haven’t seen anything to sway me from thinking the Habs are a big problem for the Bruins in the playoffs.
2) A little more frantic first period from Andrej Meszaros, who took an interference penalty just a couple of minutes into the game and allowed Alex Galchenyuk to get behind him for a breakaway chance later on in the period. His frenetic shot on goal pace seems to have slackened as well with just one shot on goal.
3) Strange period for Tuukka Rask, who made 13 saves but also fumbled a couple of long, unscreened shots from Thomas Vanek and Andrei Markov that could have been trouble had he not quickly covered up the pucks. The Markov shot turned into a rebound attempt for Max Pacioretty, but he was able to come away with both saves. He also stopped Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty on breakaways, so you can’t complain too much about the goaltending.
4) A couple of hits and some solid work in front of the net for Carl Soderberg, who looks a lot less intimidated in this game at the Bell Centre than he did in his first try back in December. It would appear the Big Swede is playing his game rather than being taken out of it, and that’s a good thing for Boston.
5) Peter Budaj looks sharp for the Canadiens. He poke-checked a loose puck in the crease away from danger before Patrice Bergeron could pound on it, and stopped Milan Lucic cold when a PK breakdown had left the B’s power forward wide open in the slot with a clean shot.