Boston vs Montreal, Game 4

Wednesday, April 14th, 2004 @ 12:06 am | Sports

3 down, 13 to go.

Wow. Wow. Wow wow wow.

If the Bruins win the Stanley Cup, game 4 will be remembered as a pivotal moment. Actually, make that Game 4. It deserves the capital G.

Game 4 was one of the games that makes overzealous expectant fathers push to name their kids after the game’s stars. Across New England, expectant mothers are relieved that Glen Andrew is fairly normal-sounding (as opposed to something like Jiri Sergie).

I didn’t sit down to watch this game until the intermission prior to the first OT. I spent the first two periods at dinner with my family, celebrating my mom’s birthday. Some things are more important watching a playoff game.

By the time I climbed into my car and turned on WBZ, the Bruins were down 3 – 2 at the start of the third period. As I approached the exit to my apartment, the replay official took a look at a shot by Mike Knuble that the refs originally thought clanged off the post. Replays showed that puck crossed the goal line and the Bruins were awarded the game-tying goal.

Talk about timely — Knuble’s shot crossed the line with 30 seconds left in regulation and Andrew Raycroft out of the net, replaced by a sixth skater.

Speaking of Raycroft, he may be cementing his reputation as a clutch goal-tender with his performance in this series. All the way home, the WBZ announcers were gushing over the saves made by Raycroft when the B’s were down by a goal. As I watched the OT periods, he made a several more tough saves, including one were he came out of the net and interrupted Richard Zednick‘s breakaway attempt.

Glen Murray, the game’s other hero (I hate using that word when talking about athletic pursuits, but I’m too tired to think of another word that grammatically fits) nearly became the goat when he took a penalty during the second OT. The B’s killed off the penalty, though, setting up Murray’s future exploits.

With Murray escaping goat-hood, that distinction would eventually fall to game 3 star Alexei Kovalev.

In the 10th minute of the second OT, Travis Green put his stick on Kovalev’s gloved-wrist just outside the Canadiens blue line. Technically, it was probably a slash on the part of Green, but the refs had already let more heinous infractions go and it was doubtful they would call consecutive penalties on the Bruins, unless the violation was truly flagrant.

Instead of playing through, Kovalev looked down and started shaking his wrist. While Kovalev ogled his wrist, he failed to notice teammate Sheldon Souray skating in front of him. Kovalev collided with Souray and the puck popped loose. Glen Murray collected the puck outside the blue line and had an unobstructed path to the net. He stick-handled into the Canadiens’ zone and blasted the puck past Jose Theodore. Game over.

Once again donning the hat of the hypothetical Canadiens fan, I’d be about ready to run Kovalev out of town. He can’t realistically expect to draw a penalty and he was far too close to his own goal to make such an attempt.

On the other hand, I’m force to wonder if Michael Ribeiro‘s antics in game 3 had any influence over the official’s non-call. I can’t say whether or not Ribeiro was actually hurt while he was writhing around on the ice. He says he was hurt and I have to take his word for it. If he lied, then that’s on his conscience. However, members of Bruins certainly felt as though Ribeiro’s rapidly recovery could be attributed to something other that the miraculous healing power of the Bell Centre‘s special water. Perhaps the officials also felt that Ribeiro took advantage of them and let that influence the way they called the game.

Also relevant, I discovered that Kovalev has a bit of thespian-ism in his past — he apparently faked an injury almost 10 years ago that resulted in a goal being disallowed. I know 10 years is a long time, but when the referee in question is Andy van Hellemond, currently the NHL‘s Director of Officiating, I would not be surprised if some of today’s referees viewed Kovalev with a jaundiced eye.

Oh yeah, the camera-position problems I groused about after game 3 were pretty much gone during the period-plus I watched. I don’t know if the NESN cameras were positioned differently or if they were just used better tonight.

Alright, now it comes back to Boston. Bring it on. Game 5, Thursday 7 PM.

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