Editor’s note: Starting Tuesday, March 24, NESN will re-air memorable games from the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup run. Up first is Game 1 of the 2011 Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the Montreal Canadiens. Get the full schedule by clicking here.”
As memorable as the Boston Bruins’ 2011 postseason run ended up being, that group really didn’t get off to the best start.
Following a 46-25-11 regular season that saw them win the Northeast Division (ah, the old format), the B’s kicked off the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a seven-game series against the Montreal Canadiens. It was a wildly entertaining stretch of games that, as memorable as they were, probably would’ve been even more memorable had the Bruins not gone on to, you know, win the Stanley Cup.
But future B’s legend Brian Gionta, then of the Habs, made relatively easy work of Boston in Game 1, which took place April 14, 2011.
Here are four things you may have forgotten about Game 1 that can be seen Tuesday night on NESN at 8 p.m. ET.
1. Surprisingly, there weren’t any fights
There were a whopping 10 scraps between the Bruins and Canadiens in six regular season games that campaign, though six of which came in a melee-ridden Feb. 9 contest. And, of course, this was the season Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty ended the Canadiens star’s season.
But none of that bad blood trickled into Game 1.
2. It was the beginning of the Bruins’ woeful power play efforts
As good as the 2011 Bruins were in the postseason, their power play was just so awful.
They ultimately executed on 11.4 percent of their man-advantage opportunities over that run, and didn’t score a power-play goal until Game 3 of the second round. Woof!
So, then, it should not be the least bit surprising that though the Bruins had three opportunities in Game 1 against the Habs on the power play, they did not cash in.
3. The 2011 Tim Thomas you remember didn’t quite look like the 2011 Tim Thomas you remember
Arguably the most exciting part about the 2011 playoffs was watching Tim Thomas find ways to dazzle seemingly every night.
April 14 was not one of those nights.
He wasn’t bad, it just didn’t end up being what we would grow to consider a vintage performance from him. He faced 20 shots (fewest he’d see in a game that postseason), and stopped 18 of them.
The two goals, both scored by Gionta with a Scott Gomez assists, were saves he probably could’ve had. Gionta’s first goal came on the doorstep just minutes after opening puck drop and Thomas was a half-second behind.
Gionta’s game-sealing score came when he got off a rip from the right dot after Gomez stole the puck away from Milan Lucic in Boston’s defensive zone. Thomas got a piece of the shot, but not enough to turn it away.
4. Boston had most of the quality opportunities, which led to a great Zdeno Chara quote
Even though they were held scoreless, the Bruins still got 31 shots off, plenty of which were quality chances.
It ultimately was far from a listless performance, which is why Zdeno Chara scoffed at the notion it was a frustrating game.
“Who said it was frustrating?” Chara said, via The Associated Press. “I think we did a lot of good things. We just couldn’t score a goal.”