Alex Kovalev went from the thrill of near victory to obvious agony of defeat Tuesday night, as he watched Glen Murray score at 9:27 of double over time. A goal that not only won an exciting game for the B’s, but put them in the drivers seat of their playoff match up with Montreal.
Kovalev took a slash on the hand and abandoned the puck near his own end as he shook his hand in pain lobbying for a penalty. While he was doing his bit to try and shame the refs into a call he collided with Montreal defenseman Sheldon Souray, allowing Murray to take a partial breakaway in on Jose Theodore. Murray’s low shot found the mark, the Bruins celebrated and the Canadiens began to think of what could have been. In the dressing room there wasn’t much left to the imagination about how the Habs felt about Kovalev’s abandonment of the puck in a double OT game. As far as the Bruins were concerned it was just bad karma for the Habs after the Mike Ribeiro “injury” of two nights ago. Many a Bruin suggesting that the refs were not inclined to be fooled twice by the same team in one series.
Montreal held a 3-2 lead going into the last thirty seconds of the third period; a poor clearing attempt resulted in a Boston opportunity for Mike Knuble who barely got the puck over the goal line behind Jose Theodore, before it bounced back out. After a review with the off ice officials the goal was counted and it was off to overtime. One extra frame settled nothing and it took half of the second one before the Bruins scored and took a commanding 3 games to 1 lead over the Habs going back to Boston.
For Kovalev it was a terrible way to end what had been a pretty good debut in a Hab playoff uniform. His two goals on Sunday night got the Habs back into the series, now his miscue on OT may be the one play that eventually eliminates them.
Montreal had pretty good control of the flow of this game and probably should have won the game in regulation time. The Habs having lost in the way that they did will weigh on them heavily in game five. Which may work to the Bruins advantage, if they can score a quick goal or two in game five, this series may not go much further?