Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins – Bruins win 4-2, take a 3-2 series lead.
Off the bat, Montreal coach Michel Therrien scratched Daniel Briere in favour of Brandon Prust and left Douglas Murray in the linup despite a 22.2 CorsiFor-percentage rating in two games against Boston. For those unfamiliar with CorsiFor, it measures shot attempts for/against at 5-on-5. A 22.2-percent CorsiFor is uber-elite in a penalty killing situation. It’s beyond awful at 5-on-5.
In extremely predictable fashion, the Boston third line was able to create havoc off an offensive zone face-off where Douglas Murray was on the ice. Murray lost Loui Eriksson behind the net, Eriksson fed it out front to Carl Soderberg and he fired the puck past Carey Price to make it a 1-0 game. The Habs had their chances, namely three power plays, but could not beat Tuukka Rask and looked very disjointed in the first period. Montreal led the first period in shots 9-8 but it certainly didn’t have that kind of feel to it.
Reilly Smith would give the Bruins a 2-0 lead early in the second period. A carry-over penalty by Tomas Plekanec gave the Bruins an early power play to start the second. Smith deflected a point shot through Price’s legs to double his team’s lead. Another power play for Boston shortly after that second goal gave Boston their third goal. A backhand pass from the boards by Torey Krug eluded every stick but Jarome Iginla’s and he fired the puck through Price’s legs for the 3-0 lead. It would be the second goal in less than one minute that Tomas Plekanec was in the penalty box for.
Montreal would cut into the lead with a power play goal of their own with a bit over five minutes left in the second period. A shot from the slot by Plekanec would be deflected off of Brendan Gallagher and past Rask to make it a 3-1 game. Boston had a 13-11 shot advantage in the period.
A fairly even and back-and-forth third period didn’t result in much on the scoreboard for either team. Then with under six minutes left. Loui Eriksson picked up a rebound off of Price, waited out his out-stretched pad, and fired it home for a 4-1 lead. The Habs would cut it to 4-2 with a P.K. Subban power play goal with 2:29 left but that was as close as they would come for the rest of the night.
Anaheim Ducks at Los Angeles Kings – Ducks win 2-0, tie series 2-2
A fairly back and forth first period was broken open by the newest member of the top line of the Anaheim Ducks. Devante Smith-Pelly was the recipient of a sharp centering pass from Corey Perry and he roofed it over Jonathan Quick to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. The Ducks would extend their lead to 2-0 with a Ryan Getzlaf power play goal. A scramble around the Kings net resulted in a Getzlaf shot that missed but he then recouped the rebound and banked it off Quick for Anaheim’s second goal .
It was a rough game for the Kings through 40 minutes as they had the shot advantage 21-11 and the shot attempt advantage 56-25. Each Kings player was at least a 53-percent CorsiFor player, but those shots were not generating enough chances to really make life difficult for rookie goaltender John Gibson. Marian Gaborik was on the ice for just three shot attempts against through better than 13 minutes of 5-on-5 time.
Either goaltender made for a compelling story tonight. Rookie Anaheim goalie John Gibson played just three games in the regular season but stepped in and stopped all 28 shots he faced to record the shutout. Per several sources, John Gibson is the youngest goalie to ever record a shutout in the NHL playoffs. Meanwhile, Jonathan Quick was pulled after the first period, allowing two goals on 11 shots. Anaheim would manage just 14 shots on goal to Los Angeles’ 28 but were more than game to tie the series. It was a game where Los Angeles had the better of the play but Anaheim had the better of the luck and a pretty good goaltending performance, too; every single Los Angeles player finished as a 50-percent possession player or better.