B's handle Habs, put worries to rest


BOSTON -- You are an angst-ridden  Bruins fan and you had concerns.

So many concerns.

As your team faced off in a pivotal Game 5, you wrung your hands and wondered aloud about a litany of issues: the curious inability of the  Carl Soderberg-- Loui Eriksson duo to find the back of the net, the gnawing feeling that Carey Price, not Tuukka Rask, was playing as though he had Vezina in his veins, that Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban was the most prolific player in this series and, simultaneously, the most agitating and most agitated guy on the ice.

And then there was the dearth of Bruins power-play goals. Boston hadn't scored one in the postseason against the Montreal Canadiens in five seasons.

Sacre bleu!

Your favorite son, your rock on defense, the redoubtable Zdeno Chara, had looked, well ... kinda slow, not quite the Norris candidate who has rocked the plus-minus hockey world for eons. Subban's offensive forays were overshadowing Boston's captain, and that was just excruciating to consider.

The Bruins who dominated the regular season had simply not fully revealed themselves in this series, and you were wondering when (if) they would.

"We got a little bit away from some of the things that brought success early in the year," Bruins forward Reilly Smith admitted.

But now, Game 5 has come and gone. You are an elated Bruins fan, and you couldn't have scripted it better.

"We did everything we wanted to," Rask declared in the wake of a resounding 4-2 Bruins victory.

It started, Eriksson explaned, by concentrating on better offensive spacing, sharper passing and more aggressive play. That meant hitting more, sharing the puck and creating higher percentage chances.

"We had some room [to work with] tonight," Eriksson said. "It's something we need to build on."

It was Eriksson who helped carve out some of that space with a nifty backhand pass onto Soderberg's stick in the first period, enabling Boston to take a 1-0 lead into the intermission.

Yet Boston was 0-for-2 on the power play, and that irked coach Claude Julien, who informed his charges they looked "average."

"We had a little chat," the coach revealed, "about bringing the intensity up on the power play and winning more battles."

His players listened, then responded.

In doing so, they broke open the game and seized command of the series.

Just 1:04 into the second period, with the Bruins enjoying a residual man advantage after Tomas Plekanec plowed into Rask in the crease late in the first, Smith halted the 0-for-39 playoff power-play futility against the Habs with a shot that dribbled between Price's pads.

A mere 35 seconds later, Boston scored again -- also on a power play -- with Plekanec the repeat offender, this time on a high-sticking call.

Jarome Iginla did the honors on a glorious cross-ice pass from Torey Krug, who got the puck when Chara dug it out of the corner for him. Just like that, the Bruins were rolling, their 3-0 lead feeling every bit as insurmountable as it looked.

"Their power-play gave them a lot of momentum and confidence," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "That's the way I see it."

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