Boston vs Montreal, Game 1

Wednesday, April 7th, 2004 @ 11:46 pm | Sports

1 down, 15 to go.

Hockey is good. Playoff hockey is better. I can now say, with authority, live playoff hockey is the best. Aside from the woman sitting in front of me (whom I wanted to bludgeon with a ThunderStix), I have no complaints about my first exposure to live playoff hockey.

If the Bruins 3 – 0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens wasn’t the best game I’d seen them play all year, it was certainly in the top 5. I really feel momentum swung the Bruins’ way when the fans saw Joe Thornton walking towards the ice, in uniform. Before that point, I don’t think anybody in the crowd knew whether or not Thornton would dress. Once people realized he was in the starting lineup, the crowd at the FleetCenter went absolutely nuts.

The B’s kept the crowd screaming by peppering Jose Theodore with 23 shots in the first period, including goals from both members of the Washington Connection — a Power Play goal by Sergei Gonchar at 5:12 and a redirection of a Gonchar pass by Michael Nylander at 19:01.

Andrew Raycroft proved capable of handling his introduction to playoff pressure by turning away all 31 Montreal shots. The first period didn’t present Raycroft with many challenges, but he made a number of tough saves as the game progressed.

According to ESPN, Raycroft is the first rookie to earn a shutout in his playoff debut in the last 10 years (Chris Osgood in 1994).

Sergei Samsonov played an excellent game, tallying 2 assists and generally flying all over the ice. The Bruins are a different team when Samsonov is healthy.

Onward to Game 2. Friday night, 7 PM.

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