You know things are going well when the biggest contribution your Vezina candidate goaltender makes to a pivotal win is an assist.
Tim Thomas didn't really have much to worry about against the feeble Montreal Canadiens tonight, so the the Bruins netminder was able to get a little daring late in the second period with a long lead pass that turned into Michael Ryder's first goal of these playoffs. Mind you, Boston had things well in hand by that point, but Ryder's goal was still a morale crusher, coming in the dying seconds of the period and putting the final nail in Montreal's coffin for this game, and quite likely for the series.
The Bruins dominated Montreal all season, but they have hardly broken a sweat in this series. In Game 2, Boston controlled both ends of the ice so thoroughly, the Bruins were able to score a 5-1 blowout victory on a night when Canadiens goalie Carey Price was actually pretty sharp.
That tells you the the game was even more one-sided than the score would suggest, and what ideally should have been a bounce back performance for Montreal after a mediocre series opener ended up underlining just how poorly the Canadiens match up with Boston in terms of size and skill. The Canadiens tried to overcome those disadvantages by getting physical at the start, but it didn't rattle the disciplined Bruins and eventually that frustrated the visitors into taking penalties that became their undoing. Boston scored on three of its five power plays -- two of the goals coming from Marc Savard who had a playoff career high four point night -- while giving Montreal only once chance with the man advantage.
By then, it was too late to matter. Chances are anything else the Canadiens try from here on in will be too, a fate that seems to be in store for the Columbus Blue Jackets as well.
The Jackets don't have the talent to stay with the heavily favored Red Wings, and they wilted when Detroit turned the tables in Game 2 by hitting them hard and often early, forcing Columbus off its game and eventually into penalties. Some of the infractions were lazy, some were bone headed, but they were costly because the league's best power play scored on three of them which was more than enough for them to coast to a 4-0 win.
The Chicago Blackhawks had things tougher because they fell behind by a pair of goals against Calgary. But the young Blackhawks showed the poise of a veteran team and their high powered offense exploded in the second period, sending them to a 3-2 win over the Flames. It was the second consecutive time Calgary has failed to hold early leads, and another ominous sign for a team that lost all four games to Chicago this season.
The bright side for th Flames, if there was one, came when Jarome Iginla opened the scoring with Calgary's first power play goal in 11 games and 47 tries. But the reality for the Flames and all the other teams that lost Saturday and now find themselves down two games to none in their respective series, is that their chances of coming back are historically slim. It's hockey's version of the terrible twos.