It took the Boston Bruins a mere 64 seconds into the second period to remedy the one weakness that has been holding them back against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Then, 32 seconds later, they did it again. Two Bruins power play goals, the first and second of the series, after going 0-10 with a man advantage to start. The Bruins power play, as good as it was against the Detroit Red Wings earlier in the postseason, has been pretty awful against the Canadiens this round. In fact, the Bruins hadn’t scored on the power play against the Canadiens in the playoffs since 2009, going a not-so-impressive 0 for 39 in that stretch.
But in a home Game 5 that the Bruins needed to win, the biggest chance for them to capitalize and beat an otherwise out-of-worldly Carey Price was to take advantage on the power play. Goals by Reilly Smith and Jarome Iginla helped to push the Bruins to a 4-2 Game 5 win. The Bruins now lead the series, 3-2.
“I think our power play was due,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “After the first period, our power play was just average so we had a little chat and talked about bringing the intensity up there on our power play and winning more battles and making stronger plays. And it gave us obviously those two goals, which were huge for us, but as always and as a normal situation will tell you, you always like to play for the lead, and it was nice for us to have it and be able to hang onto it.”
In what was perhaps their most solid period of hockey in the series, the Bruins opened the scoring after Carl Soderberg wristed a slick shot past Price in the first. Although it was Soderberg’s first goal of the postseason, he and the Bruins’ third line have been anything but quiet.
“Carl Soderberg’s line has arguably been our best line so far in this series,” said Julien. “They make things happen, so got to give them a lot of credit. It certainly takes a lot of pressure off the other lines.”
The third line capped off an impressive night once Loui Eriksson scored the Bruins’ fourth and final goal, getting assists from both Soderberg and Fraser. The players combined for six points, with Soderberg leading the pack with a goal and two assists.
“We’re playing really good,” said Eriksson. “We’re playing smart and simple and making good plays and we’re getting some really good chances out there. So, it definitely feels good. We have to keep doing that.”
The Canadiens responded twice, both on their own power plays, but the two goals weren’t enough to rally and beat the Bruins. With a Game 6 on the schedule for Monday night at the Bell Centre and the Canadiens needing a win to stay alive, the Bruins will be prepared for everything Montreal could throw at them.
Mike Miccoli covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers and has been a credentialed member of the media for all Bruins’ home games for the past five years. As a former player, coach and official, Miccoli has been around the game of hockey since the age of three. Along with his work on THW, Miccoli has also been published in the New England Hockey Journal, Improper Bostonian magazine and on BostInno.