Darren Eliot
Sunday April 19th, 2009

It's not often you see domination in the playoffs, but the Boston Bruins' 5-1 playoff trouncing Saturday of the Montreal Canadiens was exactly that.

In every facet of the game, the Bruins excelled. They hit, yet stayed disciplined. They forechecked and generated chance after chance by executing perfectly on the cycle. The forwards tracked back defensively without the puck to help the defensemen and the 'D' in turn was quick to key the attack with outlet passes of perfection.

Did I mention the Bruins dominated the Canadiens? Sure, the Habs started the game trying to prove they really wanted to play a nasty, physical brand of hockey. But, that waned as it is not their true style and actually plays right into the strength of the burly Bruins: The rougher the better for their entire lineup. The B's don't have to play rough to be effective, but they are very comfortable where most teams are uncomfortable.

Speaking of uncomfortable, the Canadiens look completely befuddled. No continuity. No rallying point. Ultimately, no leadership. Look, this is a young team that had a tremendous season a year ago, followed it up with a thrilling seven-game first-round win over the Bruins and had a first half of this regular campaign that seemed to point towards continued success. The team, as it looks right now, has lost its way and doesn't know where to find it.

True, they are headed home, so the locals might cajole a more cohesive effort out of their beloved Canadiens. But the Bruins look every bit the top seed in the East. Tim Thomas was in full control in goal, but he was hardly under duress. Marc Savard made sure that the offense was the story on this night, scoring twice and setting up two others. Even in saying so, the play of the Bruins was letter-perfect to a man. Mark Stuart leveled well-timed hits and made a beautiful play in avoiding a check and springing a breakout that led to a goal by Shane Hnidy.

Yes, Shane Hnidy -- he who didn't play in Game 1, yet stepped in and stepped up when Matt Hunwick vacated the lineup due to emergency surgery to remove his spleen. Hnidy jumped up into the play and yelled for the puck from PJ Axelsson. This wasn't a case of sport serendipity. This was a veteran player doing what the Bruins do -- join the attack when the read is right. They led the NHL in goals by defensemen during the regular season with 50, so this was not something out of the ordinary.

It was Hnidy executing. It was the Bruins playing their game. Stuart didn't even get an assist on the goal the made it 3-1 and answered the Canadiens early goal to begin the second period. Yet, he was instrumental in the success of the play. There were examples of that all night long by the Bruins -- hardly any by the Canadiens.

Thus, the domination.

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