Teams trying to avoid elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs need contributions from everyone in the lineup. That's exactly what the Boston Bruins got Thursday night when they staved off elimination with a 5-1 win over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Boston goaltender Tim Thomas
had another stellar effort with 31 saves; forward Phil Kessel scored a goal after being a healthy scratch for three-straight games and defenseman Andrew Ference
had three assists. But the biggest hero was forward Glen Metropolit, who had gone 33 games without a goal before getting the go-ahead tally early in the third period.
Metropolit addressed the postgame media scrum wearing the Bruins hard hat, awarded by the players after every game for the player that exemplifies the best effort. That effort will be even more important in tonight's Game 7 at the Bell Centre (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS)
Metropolit has been the epitome of effort, making the team as a training camp invitee and then filling in wherever coach Claude Julien has needed him during an injury-filled season.
"I'm so ecstatic for Metro," said center Marc Savard
, the incumbent Hard Hat holder after getting the overtime winner in Game 3. "The guy was a walk-on and he's battled all year. He fills in wherever we need him, the PK or the power play; you name it and he's done it. When Bergie (Patrice Bergeron
) went down, he jumped right into that spot and he has just been there whenever we needed him. We were joking with him and he handled it well and just kept battling."
After watching his team score only five goals in four games, Julien was happy to see anyone put the puck in the net, but the coach had a big grin when asked how happy he was to see Metropolit score the winner after such a long scoring drought.
"He played extremely well tonight," Julien said.
"He's worked hard, he's been snake-bitten, I think, in that area," the coach added. "The fact that he was able to score will certainly give him a lot of confidence and take a lot of weight off his shoulders. He was never a guy that you pointed at a lot as far as making mistakes on a goal against. He was still doing a lot of good things."
That's precisely how Metropolit claimed he got through the previous 33 games without lighting the lamp once.
"You can't let it wear on you. You just have to keep on going," he said.
"You know the guys were joking me about it, but I said; 'Hey, I've gone a whole season without scoring and it wasn't the end of the world.' If you're working hard and having fun, that's all you, can do. I've been creating during this and trying to just do my job, get to the net and hoping eventually it would happen. You just keep trying and the bounces have to come."
A lucky bounce is exactly how Metropolit would score his first goal since Feb. 5. After a frenzy of shots in front of Carey Price, Metropolit and teammate Petteri Nokelainen appeared to get caught behind the net. Price, seeing no one in front of him, controlled the puck and dropped it for forward Maxim Lapierre. But Price didn't see Nokelainen pop out, and the Boston forward chopped at Price's stick as he dropped the puck. Metropolit came around the other side and knocked the bouncing puck into the net, putting the Bruins ahead 2-1.
"That's how it happens, just a crazy play like that," Metropolit said. "We've been battling hard all series and yeah maybe the bounces haven't gone our way, but you can't really think about that. But it's nice when it happens."
Metropolit, who worked hard to make his way out of the Cabbage Hills projects in Toronto to the NHL, he is going to savor this break and hope his team can carry the momentum into Game 7.
"You enjoy this one and move on because we got one more to win," Metropolit said. "I'm having fun."Author: James Murphy | NHL.com Correspondent