Editor’s note: Starting Tuesday, March 24, NESN will re-air memorable games from the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup run. Up next is Game 3 of the 2011 Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the Montreal Canadiens. Get the full schedule by clicking here.
A change of scenery helped the Boston Bruins a good bit.
Down 2-0 to the Montreal Canadiens after dropping the first two contests of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series at TD Garden, the B’s were in a tough spot. They never before in franchise history had won a series after going down 2-0 and they were heading to a notoriously difficult building to play in the Bell Centre.
But they benefited from the trip north of the border, beginning with 4-2 win in Game 3.
Here are five things you might have forgotten about Game 3 that can be seen Wednesday night on NESN at 8 p.m. ET.
1. Tim Thomas started to look like the Tim Thomas we’d grow to remember
It would be unfair to say the Bruins’ netminder was bad in the first two games of the series. But given how we all remember Thomas from 2011, his Game 3 performance looked more vintage than his previous pair of showings.
He turned away 34 of the 36 shots he faced, including 14 of Montreal’s 15 third-period attempts.
2. The Bruins got on the board first, for a change
In both games in Boston, the Bruins conceded goals just minutes after the opening puck drop.
But their fortune changed, as David Krejci and Nathan Horton both would score in the opening period, with the center’s tally coming at 3:11. The B’s would make it 3-0 in the second before Montreal scored two unanswered goals.
It was Chris Kelly’s empty-netter with 26 seconds to play that finally put the game out of reach.
3. Zdeno Chara returned
Chara had missed Game 2 after being hospitalized the night before due to dehydration. The Bruins had put Shane Hnidy in but played him just over four minutes and Boston was a mess on defense without the captain.
But Chara recovered and was back in action for Game 3, which also was his first game in Montreal since the devastating hit he laid on Max Pacioretty.
In typical Chara fashion, he logged the most ice time of any skater, playing 26:20 over 34 shifts. He also had the primary assist on Horton’s goal.
4. There was a spirited fight between Andrew Ference and a future Bruin
There was a lot of bad blood between these teams heading into the series but it was mostly quiet during Game 1. While that changed in Game 2 with Hnidy fighting James Wisniewski, there was a quite the bout between Andrew Ference and future Bruin Benoit Pouliot. late in the first period.
5. This game preceded the Bruins’ well-documented trip to Lake Placid
Any Bruin from the 2011 team would tell you how therapeutic and inspiring it was to take a trip to Lake Placid between Games 3 and 4.
There were two idle days between the third and fourth contests of the series, which is when the Bruins made the trip to New York, where they practiced at the site of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice.”
Thumbnail photo via Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports Images