Montreal Canadiens Take 2-1 Series Lead Over Boston Bruins


Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens held on to a two goal lead for the first time in the series to win Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semi-Final against the Boston Bruins and take a 2-1 series lead with a 4-2 win.

I said earlier that the Canadiens needed to put together a better effort in order to have a chance, and they played a very good game and really did improve. It seems they made good use of the extra day off between games.

The biggest change was an effort to get both of their top two lines playing better. Thomas Vanek swapped spots with Brendan Gallagher which paid dividends in the first period when Vanek made a one-timer slap pass right on the tape to Tomas Plekanec who found a wide open net and buried the chance.

The pass may have been the most jaw dropping thing I have ever seen in a hockey game. Even in slow motion, I couldn’t believe the accuracy Vanek had on that without even hesitating. It’s what makes him more dangerous than just a lock and shoot sniper.

The new line of Gallagher, Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais also had some good chances despite playing against Patrice Bergeron. If they can generate offence, it will be a big step for the Canadiens chances.

P.K. Subban also had a tremendous game and provided a huge boost when he went for a big hit on Reilly Smith and was called for roughing. He also hit Vanek who missed the rest of the period. The penalty was not really valid, especially given what was let go the rest of the game on both sides.

However, Subban came out of the penalty box and was not accounted for when the penalty ended. Lars Eller found Subban on a breakaway who beat Tuukka Rask to open up a huge 2-0 lead.

Most every Canadiens forward played a great game. Travis Moen who came into the game for Brandon Prust was very good and made several key plays. Dale Weise scored his second goal (and second game winner) of the playoffs on a great play from Mike Weaver and Daniel Briere.

Douglas Murray made his playoff debut tonight and 12:22 and finished a +1. I don’t like Murray and feel that he was on the ice for way too many opposing scoring chances. However, he’s a sixth defenceman. You won’t find one that’s perfect.

Having said that, it’s a liability still. For me, Francis Bouillon makes mistakes too so you pick your poison. I don’t like it, like I said but in the end what sixth defenceman will be great?

Carey Price was once again great and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. Frankly, I almost didn’t but I caught myself. I’m not going to take it for granted yet.

So, believe it or not, the Montreal Canadiens have a 2-1 lead over the President’s Trophy winners through three games of their series. They didn’t get any style points for the first two wins but if they can play more games like they did tonight, they will have a chance to win this series.

Game four is Thursday night at the Bell Centre.