Botched call had them seething
Gionta’s no-goal upset the faithful
MONTREAL — The towels and cups that littered the Bell Centre ice indicated the Canadiens’ fans fury with the call.
At 3:27 of last night’s first period, the Canadiens believed Brian Gionta had given the hosts a 1-0 lead. Scott Gomez had flung a long-distance shot on goal. Tim Thomas thought he had it covered. So did referee Scott Pollock.
Both were mistaken. The puck had wriggled free of Thomas’s grasp. It was lying to the right of Thomas’s right pad. Gionta spotted the puck, raced toward it, and banged it into the net.
But Pollock waved off the goal, presumably because he believed Thomas had frozen the puck.
“The ref blew the whistle way before,’’ said Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. “It wasn’t even a question that it wasn’t a goal.’’
As the Canadiens protested, so did their fans. The game was delayed several minutes because of the trash they flung onto the ice.
Later in the first, the Canadiens scored during the first of their two five-on-three power plays. Mike Cammalleri’s goal helped the Canadiens forget about the waved-off goal.
“I think it’s important to understand that you can’t change the result,’’ said Montreal coach Jacques Martin. “What’s important there is how you handle it. Your reaction is that you’ve got to keep focus and keep your concentration on the task at hand.’’
Shorthanded situation The Canadiens were without pint-sized forward David Desharnais, who suffered an undisclosed injury in Game 5. They were also missing James Wisniewski, who had been playing important minutes alongside Roman Hamrlik on Montreal’s second defensive pairing.
Desharnais started the series on the fourth line. But in Game 5, Martin bumped Desharnais up to the second line alongside Scott Gomez and Gionta. While playing with more skilled players, the shifty Desharnais created several scoring chances down low.
Yannick Weber dressed in Desharnais’s place.
“I think he’s had a good series and played well for them,’’ Julien said. “Around the league, Martin St. Louis is such a good player. He’s got good speed and good talent. I think Desharnais doesn’t have the pedigree and the experience, but he certainly has the making of a guy like that. He’s come in here and done a good job for them.’’
Unlike Desharnais, who didn’t take the ice for warmups, Wisniewski went through his usual pregame skate. Wisniewski participated in line rushes alongside Hamrlik, indicating that he would play last night.
But Wisniewski was scratched in favor of Paul Mara. The Belmont native and ex-Bruin threw four hits and blocked one shot in 13:11 of ice time. Mara skated with Brent Sopel on the third pairing. Jaroslav Spacek moved up to skate with Hamrlik.
Lucic tossed Even before Milan Lucic was tossed at 4:37 of last night’s second period, the first line didn’t have much going. After 20 minutes, Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton had combined for zero shots.
Things didn’t improve upon Lucic’s banishment. In 17:33 of ice time, Horton didn’t record a single shot. Horton, the double-overtime hero of Game 5, was called for a slashing penalty at 16:48 of the second. Horton’s penalty wiped out a Boston power play, which started 22 seconds earlier after Spacek was whistled for hooking.
Krejci had one shot in 20:30 of ice time. Krejci had his best chances late in the third after Chris Kelly was sent off for high-sticking Travis Moen.
As of late last night, the Bruins had not heard from the league on a possible suspension for Lucic.
Stepping in Daniel Paille, Brad Marchand, and Gregory Campbell were among the forwards who took shifts in Lucic’s spot in the second and third periods. Last year, Julien often deployed Paille as a plug-in first-liner when Lucic was unavailable because of injuries. The third line of Kelly, Rich Peverley, and Michael Ryder totaled a team-leading eight shots. Peverley led all Bruins with five shots. “They did what they had to do,’’ Julien said of the No. 3 line. “And add [Patrice] Bergeron’s line had some chances too. You don’t necessarily want to break those lines up. Especially when you feel a guy like Paille can give you that speed on that line, which is not a bad thing.’’ . . . Shawn Thornton skated only four shifts for 2:27 of ice time, his lightest workload of the series . . . Hamrlik led all players with eight blocked shots . . . Bergeron had a rare off night in the faceoff circle. He lost 12 of 22 draws.
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at email@example.com.