The Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins reminded us what playoff hockey felt like
From the speed to the intensity, it was like April in January.
One thing kept entering my mind as I was watching the Montreal Canadiens play the Boston Bruins: Playoff hockey.
It wasn’t a perfect game, and it wasn’t a game I’d mark down for the annals of history. But it felt like a playoff game.
It was low scoring, there was physicality, and there wasn’t much room to work with. You could tell that both teams wanted the game badly. When David Krejci scored to tie the game, he had a big fist pump. Same thing for Jeff Petry when he won the game in overtime.
It was a fun game. There were battles. Phillip Danault and Patrice Bergeron going head to head. Brendan Gallagher and Zdeno Chara. Max Domi and Jake DeBrusk (and Brandon Carlo). Nicolas Deslauriers and Kevan Miller. It was one of those games that you could see the rivalry developing and while some of the battles were new, they were still familiar.
Carey Price and Tuukka Rask both played well as well, stopping big chances on either side.
Some people will look at the shot totals (43-22) and say that the Bruins were dominant over the Canadiens but the high danger chances were only 10-7 Boston. The overall scoring chances were 31-26. A lot of the Bruins shots were from the outside and when you have Price playing great hockey, that’s perfectly fine.
Sure there were things not to like - Michael Chaput’s penalty, the team falling into a bit of a shell, the power play (I know the Canadiens didn’t have one but it’s hard to break a habit) - but at the same time, they still found a way to win.
It was a shock to the system considering it has been more than 20 months since the last Canadiens playoff game but this game was a reminder of what it feels like. There’s still a lot of work to do so this taste will have to suffice for now.