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Cullen: Bruins, Kings storm back to win

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Scott Cullen
5/4/2014 12:29:37 AM
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The Boston Bruins used a third-period rally to even their series against the Montreal Canadiens, while the Los Angeles Kings scored late to tie before winning in overtime against the Anaheim Ducks. Notes on Bergeron, Marchand, Gorges, Vanek, Gaborik, Doughty,  Hiller and more.

BRUINS STORM BACK TO TAKE GAME TWO

The Boston Bruins rallied from a 3-1 deficit, scoring four unanswered goals, to win Game Two, 5-3 over the Montreal Canadiens.

Midway through the third period, the Canadiens held a 3-1 lead, on the strength of two goals from Thomas Vanek, rebounding nicely from having his ice time cut in Game One, and one from defenceman Mike Weaver.

While the Canadiens held a two-goal lead -- which apparently isn't remotely safe in this year's playoffs -- they were losing the territorial battle quite handily and the game played out as a microcosm of why shot-based analysis makes sense.

Sure, it's possible that Carey Price could have continued standing on his head, making great save after great save, but the Bruins' carried play, to the tune of 58.4% at even-strength, so odds were against holding them off.

That's not to say it can't happen. It happened in Game One and the Canadiens were 10 minutes away from escaping Boston with a 2-0 series lead, but when one side continues to generate chances, they usually start going in at some point.

Which brings us the Bruins' line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith; one of the best lines in hockey this season. Bergeron (1 G, 1 A) and Marchand (2 A) each had two points in the third-period comeback, and Smith put the exclamation point on it, burying the winning goal with 3:32 remaining.

Bergeron now has eight points to lead the Bruins in the postseason. Canadiens D P.K. Subban, who assisted on both of Vanek's goals, lead the Habs with nine points in six playoff games.

As for the territorial dominance, it was the Bruins' third line that carried the play in that respect. Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg were on for 75% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts when they were on the ice. That tilted ice made it difficult for the Canadiens to sustain their lead.

For the Habs, D Josh Gorges was a standout, on for 59.1% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts, as the Canadiens only had 34.7% of the 5-on-5 shots with Gorges off the ice.

As much as the Canadiens have been dominated, possession-wise (getting 41.0% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts), through the first two games, they have to be satisfied with the results. They picked up a road split and head home for two, but also must realize that they will have to be dramatically better to withstand the onslaught they have faced from Boston.

GABORIK DEAL PAYS DIVIDENDS

Los Angeles Kings LW Marian Gaborik scored with seven seconds left in the third period to force overtime in Game One against the Anaheim Ducks, then 12:07 into the extra frame, he re-directed a pass from Anze Kopitar past Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller, giving the Kings a 3-2 win.

(That's right, Jonas Hiller, whose last start was April 6, got the Game One start for Anaheim, and stopped 33 of the 36 shots he faced.)

Gaborik had two goals and an assist, giving him eight points in eight playoff games, prompting some discussion about his trade deadling acquisition from Columbus. I wrote about the deal at the time, suggesting that the opportunity to play with a dominant possession player like Kopitar would provide a chance for Gaborik to regain his scoring touch. After being held scoreless in his first three games with the Kings, Gaborik has 24 points in 24 (regular season plus playoff) games.

Here are the highest-scoring players, with their new teams, among those that moved at this year's trade deadline:
Ales Hemsky, RW, Ottawa (4 G, 13 A)
Marian Gaborik, LW, Los Angeles (5 G, 11 A)
Thomas Vanek, RW, Montreal (6 G, 9 A)
Brandon Pirri, C, Florida (7 G, 7 A)
Matt Moulson, LW, Minnesota (6 G, 7 A)
Ryan Callahan, RW, Tampa Bay (6 G, 5 A)
Lee Stempniak, RW, Pittsburgh (4 G, 7 A)
Calle Jarnkrok, C, Nashville (2 G, 7 A)
Martin St. Louis, RW, N.Y. Rangers (1 G, 7 A)

Kopitar picked up three assists to move into the playoff scoring lead, with 13 points.

With assists on both Ducks goals, Ryan Getzlaf is up to a team-leading nine points in the postseason.

With D Robyn Regehr injured in the first period, Kings D Drew Doughty played a game-high 33:06, while Alec Martinez -- who scored the game's first goal -- logged a career-high 28:16. Doughty was a possession monster, and the Kings had 64.6% of the 5-on-5 shots when Doughty was on the ice, compared to 44.8% when Doughty was off the ice.

Coming into the series, the Kings were expected to hold a decided advantage in puck possession, since they were the league's best during the regular season, but the Ducks ran neck-and-neck with the Kings. At 5-on-5, they tied with 41 unblocked shot attempts.

The Ducks' line of Emerson Etem, Nick Bonino and Devante Smith-Pelly was on for more than 60% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts, when they were on the ice, despite starting the vast majority of their shifts in the defensive zone. They feasted on Kings D Slava Voynov, who was at the low-end (44.4%) of the possession spectrum for the Kings.

That the Ducks could handle the possession game against Los Angeles was encouraging but, no matter how you slice it, losing a lead in the final 10 seconds is disheartening. Can they recover to salvage a home split in Game Two?

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

Patrice Bergeron Brad Marchand (Photo: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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