At the risk of giving too much love to the hated Montreal Canadiens — after all this is The Bruins Blog — I believe the Habs’ upset of Washington amazing enough to merit a few more of my thoughts.
•I still can’t get over how well Hal Gill played in this series. We saw flashes of his ability to be a shutdown defender and massive shot-blocker with Pittsburgh last year, but I chalked that up to playing with Rob Scuderi. Now he helps bottle up Ovechkin. The Bruins, who now have home-ice advantage, owe a debt of gratitude to their former blueliner.
Gill blocked 31 shots in the seven games, as the Habs as a team blocked 182 in front of the super-human Jaroslav Halak. Montreal blocked 41 shots as a team in their 2-1 Game 7 win.
•Raise your hand if you thought Joe Thornton would be in the second round of the playoffs, but Alexander Ovechkin would be going home. The Great Eight scored five goals in the first five games of the series. And then he scored none in Game 6 and 7. Ouch. It’s now point-less to debate. The best player in the NHL is Sidney Crosby until OV figures a way to get his team deep into the postseason.
•If you pained you to root for Montreal, there was more than just home-ice advantage for the Bruins as reward. Last spring’s villain Scott Walker was inserted into Washington’s lineup for Game 7 and despite a few solid shifts couldn’t pull off the same miracle he did with Carolina against Boston last year. There was no sign of a sucker punch either.
•If there’s an award for most over-rated played in the game, Mike Green owns it. Two minor penalties. Four shots on net. No points. And a bad decision to go for a hit rather than contain Dominic Moore before Montreal’s second goal. The Norris nominee really has a ways to go be to an elite defenseman rather than a rover.