Call it the home ice advantage, call it desperation, call it whatever you want, the Montreal Canadiens started Game 6 exactly how they wanted to in a do-or-die game for their 2013-14 season.
The Canadiens came out swarming, flying around the ice and hitting every Bruins they could see. They led the Bruins in shots early, and finished the first period with 11 to the Bruins’ eight.
The home team drew first blood on the scoreboard, as a botched play by Torey Krug and Kevan Miller left the puck squirting out in front of the Bruins net. Miller tripped up Tuukka Rask from behind, sending the Boston netminder to the ice that left Lars Eller all alone in front of an empty net, needing just a backhand flick to put the Canadiens up 1-0 just 2:11 into the first period.
It could have very well been 2-0 Montreal as Brendan Gallagher seemed to have an open net to shoot at, but Rask made a Tim Thomas-like stick save to rob the Canadiens from doubling their early lead.
The Canadiens saw 11 of their shots get through to the net, but had another seven blocked by the Bruins and led in shot attempts 18-13.
Montreal brought out the physicality too, hammering the Bruins with 20 hits in the first 20 minutes. In comparison, the Candiens totaled 39 hits through the entire Game 5. The Bruins were lucky to end the period only down a goal, but will need to do some catch up in the second period if they want to make sure they are the only one of these two teams returning to Boston after tonight.