How sweet is that? The tears of Bruins fans are special, and they must be savoured.
The Montreal Canadiens were severely outplayed last night in Boston, but unlike the last week or so of games, they got the lucky bounces that gave them a chance to win the game. Some bounces went against them too though, namely Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand's goals on Carey Price.
Speaking of Price, lots of people were blaming him for the goals against last night, and Peter Budaj made it easier to blame him by being flat out brilliant in relief. But Price was hung out to dry over 40 minutes last night, and he was flat out brilliant against Pittsburgh. The way he's playing this season has been slightly worrying at times, but to be quite honest, Patrick Roy was questionable all of 1992-93. I don't think there's anyone I'd rather have in net for the playoffs.
But let's give credit where it's due, Peter Budaj was absolutely fantastic last night. He didn't face the same frequency of scoring chances that Price did according to Olivier's breakdown, but he came in cold and stole the game against Boston. He's beaten Boston twice in a row now, should he start on April 6th? I don't think I would do it, but I could see it happening.
Playing heavy minutes in back to back games against the two top teams in the Eastern conference, Andrei Markov was pretty awful last night. His -14 Fenwick was the worst on the Canadiens by 8 events, meaning the next worst player was a -6. Then Markov sent a wrist shot through traffic that tied the game at 5-5 with seconds left in the game, because he's Andrei Markov and he can make up for an awful game in an instant.
It's become increasingly obvious over time that P.K. Subban is an elite defenseman. His play last night was incredible, including a rocket of a shot that put the Habs up 2-0, and amazing Bobby Orr-like rush that nearly netted the Habs a 3rd goal, and helping to set up Markov's tying goal. Before he was signed, we called Subban elite. Now, I think it's tough to argue that he shouldn't be nominated for the Norris. Maybe even win. Subban and Gorges were the only players on the team that had positive scoring chance differentials at even strength last night.
And how about Brendan Gallagher? Remember last game when the Habs were too small to compete with the Bruins, and Gallagher was the best player on either team? The little man once again distinguished himself by driving to the net and causing havoc, then scoring the shootout winner. Gallagher is catching up to Jonathan Huberdeau and Cory Conacher in the rookie scoring race, and he has a very good chance of winning the Calder.
And I think it's high time that we praise Marc Bergevin for acquiring Michael Ryder. Ryder is now tied for the team lead in scoring with 12 goals, and his 27 points is one ahead of Max Pacioretty, albiet in 3 more games. Ryder has 13 points in 13 games as a Montreal Canadien. Erik Cole on the other hand, has just 2 goals for the Stars in 12 games. Bergevin seems to have correctly identified that Cole hit a wall, be it from age or something else, and he acquired a player who replaced him and then some.
More praise for Bergevin's savvy moves comes when you look at Jeff Halpern. Halpern has been excellent in his two games thus far, having an even Fenwick score in a defensive role last night while the team around him went -8. On Saturday night, Halpern faces his former team. How awesome would it be if he scored?
Check out Stanley Cup of Chowder for some reaction from the losing side, and also reaction to losing Iginla. Ha.