BOSTON — Boston Bruins defenseman Shane Hnidy scored a key goal in his team’s 5-1 triumph over Montreal in Game 2 of the clubs’ Eastern Conference quarterfinal series tonight at TD Banknorth Garden.
The score pushed his career total of goals in 31 postseason games to four. Remember, this is a guy who in 477 regular-season games has scored just 14 goals (including three this year).
“I was telling the guys, this is the third year in a row I’ve scored in my first playoff game. It’s one of those things. We play this game, there’s stretches throughout the season where we lag, but when it comes to playoffs, you wake up, you’re ready to go. So it’s why we play the game — to be in playoffs,” said Hnidy, who probably wouldn’t have played had fellow defenseman Matt Hunwick not suffered a ruptured spleen.
Hnidy’s score came with the Bruins still ahead 2-1 but starting to feel some heat from the Habs, who had scored just 46 seconds into the second period. But at the 5:45 mark of that period the veteran blueliner snuck one past Montreal goaltender Carey Price from the high slot off a drop-pass by winger P.J. Axelsson.
“Coming into our lineup tonight and doing the job that he did is to his credit because he’s worked hard in practice, he’s kept himself sharp and the minute he’s had the opportunity, he’s come in and played well,” said head coach Claude Julien.
The Bruins now lead the series two games to none heading to Montreal for Game 3 Monday. There’s no doubt Hnidy’s goal was a momentum-changer for the game and maybe the series.
“We have put that on ourselves this year, as a team, if the other team scores, we really want to bounce back quick and try to get ourselves back into the game and put the pucks on net,” Hnidy said. “That’s what we did. It’s a tribute to this team and the way we like to bounce back from that shift and want the next shift to be good and create positives from that.”