BOSTON — It took just 51 seconds into tonight’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between Boston and Montreal for Canadiens tough guy Georges Laraque — he of the disparaging comments about the Boston Bruins’ toughest players in a pre-series interview — to get on the ice with Bruins winger Shawn Thornton and begin a mini trash-talking session.
It took just a little more than 13 minutes for “Big Georges” to get in Bruins captain Zdeno Chara’s face after a whistle. After all, it was Chara that Laraque said in his radio appearance he really wanted to fight, not Thornton. Well, neither Bruins bone-crusher, nor fellow hard-hitter Milan Lucic, took Laraque’s bait throughout the evening at TD Banknorth Garden.
And that, my friends, was where this game was won. Sure the Bruins needed Chara’s laser-like slap shot from the point to break a 2-2 tie with 8:45 to play in the third. (Just an aside, did that thing break the sound barrier or what? If Chara had someone passing him the puck in the hardest-shot competition, there’s no telling what his NHL record would be.)
But what the Bruins really needed from Chara was to put the ‘C’ on his chest to good work. Had he lost his temper, there’s not telling what would have happened. It could’ve been a rerun of last Thursday’s second period, when there were so many Bruins in the penalty box Thornton had to go to the dressing room. Instead, “Big Zee” turned the other cheek. (more…)