1. Bruins 4, Hurricanes 0
I really...this game was a great experience, especially after being at game 2. Timmy and the B's really turned it around and gave a great show.
We got to the glass for warmups - found everyone, sorted out tickets, no problems there - I grabbed my anti-Canes-mojo poster and split off from the group to go sit by Canes warmups, poster pressed firmly against the glass, shit-eating grin on my face.
Moment of the night that seriously set my heart racing and ready for the Bruins to beat the pants off the Whalercanes? Tim Conboy looked at my poster, grinned, and shook his head a little. BUT THEN, two minutes later, Eric Staal himself came over and was stretching right beside my poster; he took a few more laps, then, on his way off the ice to head back into the locker room, ERIC STAAL PUNCHED THE GLASS IN FRONT OF ME, with the most petulant, crabby look on his face, ever! I'm pretty sure I ruined his mojo. Yep, three quick hard raps on the glass with the outside of his fist, a quick scowl, then back in, buzzer sounded, and up we headed to our seats in the nosebleeds.
Other highlights - Milan Lucic was a beast; he put some sweet hits on some of the Canes early on, got things going early, and even potted a goal, thank goodness. Phil Kessel snagged two, and Chara was a +3 on the night. Making up for lost ground in game 2. Good man.
It was like someone flipped a switch in their brains, or replaced their legs with bionic robot ones, or amped them up in some way that didn't seem humanly possible - the drastic change in energy level between games 4 and 5 was absolutely unbelievable. I don't want to think that it's only because of the home energy from the crowd, but I think that was part of it. Another part is that the Bruins had no reason to get ANGRY at the WhalerCanes; they were just sort of...that team, you know, that we're playing against. There were no Komisareks, no Laraques on this team, until last night.
The Bruins were a sleepy bear until last night, until they had their backs to the wall - not only did the Hurricanes back them into a corner, but then they decided to poke the cornered bear. NOT A GOOD IDEA. Now, Walker might as well have a bullseye painted on his back; the Zdeno Chara debacle didn't hurt, and in the third, the Bruins came out swinging. The defense rotated like a well-oiled machine; at one point even the least physical forwards were spotting playing two-way hockey, specifically David Krejci and Marc Savard. The two of them made some nice little checks, and even did some mucking in front of Tim Thomas, the few times the puck made it to the defensive zone.
My favorite stat of the night: The Bruins had 40 SOG to the Whalercanes' 19. These numbers were essentially reversed for games 2 through 4, which is promising.
Game 6 tomorrow - here's hoping the Bruins pack a little bit of Red Sox mojo, circa 2004. My mood: cautiously optimistic. It's true, Carolina is a tough building to play in, but they KNOW now what the atmosphere will be like, and there's a wee bit of momentum. Keep rolling, boys. Keep rolling.
2. Capitals 5, Penguins 4
I missed this game. I am both happy and sad about this; while it sounds like a game in which there were many heart attacks, sometimes those are my favorite kind of games. Your heart races, adrenaline floods your body; a doctor checking your body's reaction would almost think YOU were involved in these games. Alas, though, we're just the plebes watching the struggles of others, living vicariously through their efforts.
And lo did the Caps bring the pain to Pittsburgh tonight. Dave Steckel is apparently a beast, Alexander Semin finally woke up from his 5-game nap, Ovechkin didn't account for ANY goals tonight - before the game, I thought to myself, is Ovie going to try to carry this team through the playoffs? Because if so, they're not going anywhere. Tonight, Viktor Kozlov, Tomas Fleischmann, Alex Semin, and Dave Steckel proved otherwise - and well done! Varlamov let in four goals which still makes me question the quality of the defense, but other than that - well played!
3. Blackhawks 7, Canucks 5
Man, were Khabibulin and Luongo a pair of sieves tonight, or what? Okay, maybe not, but close. The Blackhawks scored a touchdown on the Canucks; Patrick Kane grabbed the first Blackhawks post-season hat trick since 1994, and the Blackhawks took down the last Canadian team in six games to make their first Western Conference Finals appearance since 1995.
IT WAS A GOOD NIGHT AT THE UNITED CENTER TONIGHT.
Glad to see Toews and Burish snag goals as well. Really, other than that, I've got nothing, except: this gif sums up my feelings since yesterday night.
I'll soak in this feeling for about 30 more minutes, and then it's back to watching my team fight for its life. Two more, Bruins. One more, Caps.