Thursday, February 10, 2011

Smackdown in Beantown


Referee Don van Massenhoven must have had a premonition last night when he delayed the start of the second period in Boston until he was sure the goal lights were working. The Bruins and Canadiens combined for eight goals in the middle 20 minutes of a game that featured everything except, ironically, stellar goaltending in a matchup of the two best goalies in the Eastern Conference, if not in the entire league. Along with being lit up at their respective ends of the rink, Carey Price and Tim Thomas failed to distinguish themselves in a goalie fight that looked like two grandmothers fighting over the last pair of orthopedic panty hose at a K-Mart clearance sale.
The game started innocently enough and had the makings of an easy win for the Bruins, who dominated the early going and led 2-0 after one period, but lit the fuse for the fireworks in the dying seconds of the first when Milan Lucic lowered the boom on Price in the Canadiens crease. That got the Canadiens attention, and by 12:48 of the second, the two teams had combined to score six goals in a little more than four minutes, and there were eleven players simultaneously crammed into the two penalty boxes - six Bruins and five Habs. There were two more melees late in the third, to the point where - between penalties, misconducts and ejections - both teams barely had enough players to finish the game.
To summarize: 14 goals, 12 fighting majors, four game misconducts and 182 total penalty minutes in an epic battle fraught with enduring images. Oh, by the way, the Bruins won 8-6. They also won most of the fights, leaving Canadiens and their fans to ponder which was worse - getting beaten, or getting beaten up.

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