|Montreal’s James Wisniewski tries to draw a penalty in the first period on the Bruins’ Zdeno Chara, to no avail. (Jim Davis/ Globe Staff)|
A fast start helps the cause
MONTREAL — Entering last night, the Bruins knew what they needed to do. Score first.
In the first two setbacks at TD Garden, the Bruins had allowed the Canadiens two early let-’em-in goals. In Game 1, a bad Tomas Kaberle reverse led to a Brian Gionta goal at 2:44 of the first.
In Game 2, a Johnny Boychuk giveaway let Mike Cammalleri score, this time just 43 seconds into the night. The Bruins chased both games with zero results.
Last night, they executed the most important part of their game plan. Just 3:11 into the game, David Krejci buried a Patrice Bergeron setup to give his team its first lead of the series.
“We had a better start,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “The early goals certainly helped. We had a better start than the last two games in Boston. We didn’t have a good start and they scored early. We know how they play when they score early. They really get into that defensive shell and they make you work hard to get back in the game.
“Maybe [the Bruins] playing with the lead got [the Canadiens] out of their comfort zone a little bit. I think it was important to have a good start. We did that. We scored some early goals, which helped the confidence. I thought our guys were ready to play tonight. They weren’t as tense as they were the first two games at home. That really helped us well. That gave us more energy.’’
In Games 1 and 2, the Bruins were shell-shocked after the early goals. Mentally, they couldn’t recover from either strike.
But more importantly, Montreal’s quick goals gave the Canadiens the green light to execute coach Jacques Martin’s game plan. With the lead in their pockets, the Canadiens played pack-it-in hockey, blocking shots and relying on Carey Price to make timely saves.
Last night, once the Bruins grabbed the lead, the Canadiens couldn’t revert to their usual style. They blocked only 17 shots, their lowest tally so far. In turn, the Bruins had more confidence and more room to do their stuff.
“I thought we had a pretty good start,’’ said Rich Peverley. “Big goal by Krejci there. Great play by Bergeron. I think it was a great start for us. We played a lot in their zone in the first period. I think that was our goal.’’
Last night, Seguin was in suit and tie for the third straight game.
“I’ll do what I can do and be ready in case I get the call,’’ Seguin said after the morning skate.
Julien would not discuss any lineup issues before the game. That goes counter to Peter Laviolette, the Philadelphia coach whom Julien cited Sunday when saying he would not talk about his goalies, injuries, or lineup. Laviolette announced yesterday morning that Brian Boucher would start in net for the Flyers last night.
“I think I have the option on which page I’d like to take out of Peter Laviolette’s book,’’ Julien said with a smile. “I like the page from the other day. I didn’t like this morning’s page.’’
Even at 19 years old, Seguin has the team’s best set of hands and wheels. In theory, his speed could push back the Montreal defensemen and create gaps in their defensive formation.
But Seguin has given the coaching staff little confidence that he has the high battle level and decision-making abilities required in the playoffs.
Kostitsyn was hobbled early in Game 1 after Zdeno Chara rocked a slap shot off his foot.
“He’s the kind of guy who can be a game-breaker,’’ Cammalleri said. “He’s that kind of a player.’’
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at email@example.com.