The obvious answers to the question of how the Bruins beat the Canadiens are pretty straight forward: They scored, they scored more. The less obvious answers require a bit more parsing.
First and most obvious was Bergeron attacking the puck and setting up Krejci’s layup. Getting the first goal when you are the more offensively adept team puts the other team in a more defensive posture. They know they can’t give up too many more opportunities, and it showed. When Horton added his goal, the Canadiens were in a distinctly different posture on the ice than they had been before in the series. They spent far more time drawing and attempting to draw penalties than they had in the first two games through out the course of the last forty-five minutes.
Second, the defensive shuffle allowed several players to do what they do best. McQuaid was paired with Kaberle, and Chara and Seidenberg were paired. As pairings Kaberle with either Seidenberg or Chara are less than the sum of their parts. In Chara’s case he ends up spending far more time concentrating on defense than he should because no one believes that is Kaberles strong point, which saps his offensive energy and opportunities. With Seidenberg who is more a defensive defenseman who is offensive opportunistically rather than as a constant throws Kaberle into assuming full defensive responsibility when Seidenberg pinches in trying to create or exploit an opportunity. While Kaberle is physically quick. I haven’t seen anything to suggest he processes the defensive portion of the game well enough to react and arrive in the right place, at the right time often enough.
With McQuaid knowing his job is first, second, and third to make life tough on anyone going to the net with the puck paired with Kaberle each of them is allowed to use their best tools. Seidenberg and Chara together are more of a two man two way threat. Each is capable of contributing offensively with solid numbers, Seidenbergs skating makes him the faster of the two, but both hit and block shots for a total in excess of 100 in each category in the regular season. With no defenseman having been a minus player in the game, despite having given up both goals at even strength I suspect we’ll see these pairings again.
Another change was the powerplay units. While the Bruins were again dismal on the powerplay, with Bergeron on the second powerplay unit it leaves the teams best two way presence on the ice when the opposing player comes out of the box, which is what led to Bergeron and Krejci connecting for the first assist of Bergeron’s night. I liked the purposeful movement of both the puck and the players on this unit a lot more than the endless dangling of the Kaberle-Krejci unit.
The last thing that can’t be overlooked that led to the Bruins win was simple. Price was fallible. More explicitly, Price was fallible and the Bruins were in good position to exploit it. Peverley got a goal for being in the right place. Hortong got a goal for being in a high probability rebound lane, Krejci got a goal for getting open and being in “the dirty areas”. The only Bruin to score before tonight also had two assists tonight. In the first game, Price was in the zone, period. In game two he had chinks which only Bergeron managed to exploit. In this game the Bruins pressed, did all the important little things, and did them consistently.