When is a broken stick a good thing? How about when it winds up setting up the opening goal in a playoff game.
Boston's Patrice Bergeron snapped his stick like a piece of kindling as he tried to one-time a passout – but he wound up banking the misfire off the skate of Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban right to teammate Brad Marchand, who put it into a half-empty net at 4:33 for the game's first goal. Carey Price had no chance.
How big is the first goal? Consider that teams scoring first in the playoffs have won 31 of 37 games – although one of the six losses was Montreal's 5-4 OT loss in Game 4, a contest the Habs led 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3.
For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.
— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday