Loss of Lucic could sway momentum

MIKE ZEISBERGER, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

BOSTON -- The deep gash evident on the bridge of his nose, Maxim Lapierre could have whined.

He could have blamed the referees for handing out 11 penalties to his Montreal Canadiens as opposed to just six for the Boston Bruins.

And he could have called for the league to throw the book at Milan Lucic for cross-checking him in the face late in the third period, the reason for the blood on his face.

But Lapierre chose to take the high road instead.

That was tough to do, especially after the 5-1 drubbing the Bruins put on his Habs last night in Game 2 of this best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal at the TD Banknorth Garden.

"It's not my business to say if there will be (a suspension) or not," Lapierre said. "In the playoffs, you give some, you get some ... This time I got mine.

"He tried to cross-check (Mathieu Schneider). We needed to show them that we have plenty of team unity."

Lucic, who received a two-minute minor and match penalty for his actions, was not made available to the media after the game.

On the other hand, league disciplinarian Colin Campbell did talk.

"(The match penalty) means he is automatically suspended, pending a review," Campbell said in an email to Sun Media after the game.

In other words, don't count on Lucic being in the lineup when the Bruins enter the lion's den that is the Bell Centre for Game 3 tomorrow night. And, for a Bruins team that has been dominant at times in capturing the first two games of this series, they had better hope Lucic's brain drain does not sway the momentum in Montreal's favour, as remote as that might seem.

Lucic is the heart and soul of the Bruins. He's not the most talented guy on the ice, but his motor never stops running. It's a trait his teammates feed off.

But the incident in question didn't need to happen. His team was up by four goals. The Canadiens were done like dinner. Whether you chalk it up to the inexperience of youth, it was a mistake.

One the Bruins don't want to pay for in the long run.

Especially since the hosts beat the Canadiens in every aspect of the game.

Consider that Patrice Bergeron dropped the Habs' Josh Gorges late in the third period with a powerful left hook. It was Bergeron's first fighting major in the NHL yet he still came out on top.

Afterward he was playfully razzed by his teammates for his, uh, goon tactics.

"I haven't had a fight in three years," he said with a laugh. "Not since I played in the American Hockey League."

That's the type of night it was for Montreal.

And now, Habs coach Bob Gainey must somehow find a way to right his sinking ship with his team back in Montreal. So what message do the Habs have for their fans as the series now shifts to the Bell Centre for Games 3 and 4?

"We have to put this one behind us," Habs defenceman Mike Komisarek said. "We know how electric our building can be and we have to feed off that."

Thanks to a four-point night by the Bruins' Marc Savard, the Bruins hold a 2-0 lead in the series. In the process, they chased Canadiens starting goalie Carey Price.

"Carey likes to take the blame on his shoulders but this isn't his fault," Lapierre said. "This is on all of us."

Savard scored twice for the winners, with Kobasew, Shane Hnidy and Michael Ryder adding singles. Alexei Kovalev scored for the Canadiens.

The Bruins were buoyed by the news that defenceman Matt Hunwick was doing well after his spleen was removed earlier in the day.

"This win was for him," Bergeron said.

MIKE.ZEISBERGER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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