Remember the last time the Montreal Canadiens were in Boston? Sure, you do. It was overtime in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Bruins had come from behind in the series, overcoming a two-game deficit to force a final and deciding game. Of course, it went to overtime.
With just over five minutes played in overtime, Adam McQuaid pinched down-low in the offensive zone, blocking P.K. Subban’s effort to clear the puck. Milan Lucic then left his skates to bat-down the deflected puck onto his stick at the bottom of the circle. He went around Tomas Plekanec and Hal Gill’s poke-check attempt to find a wide-open Nathan Horton who had cycled to the top of the zone. Horton received the pass, shifted further down to the slot and unleashed a rocket of shot that went by four Canadiens–five, if you include Montreal goaltender Carey Price.
The Bruins would advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals while clearing the Canadiens’ schedule for the rest of summer. It was playoff hockey at it’s best. It was the perfect cultivation of a season filled with story lines. It was last season.
Ask anyone what trade was instrumental in the Penguins 2007-08 Stanley Cup Finals appearance and they’ll immediately point to Hossa. If Ray Shero’s team returns to the Finals over the next few seasons, the key trade might be one involving a player who never appeared in a Penguins jersey: Dan Hamhuis.