Montreal stole game 1 in Beantown on the back of some grand larceny from Carey Price. Boston outplayed the Canadiens for much of the game but Price spectacularly kept his team in the game, winning 4-3 early in second overtime to steal home ice advantage.
Boston threw their weight around early as both teams traded shots, with Boston generating the better chances. The Canadiens had their first chance in close three and a half minutes in, with Lars Eller and Rene Bourque doing good work low around the net. Carey Price had to be sharp on a Gregory Campbell shot in close, getting a piece of it shortly after. Then, an Andrei Markov turnover in the neutral zone sprung a two on one, which Price gloved for a whistle.
Price continued to see more rubber, stopping a point shot midway through the first period on another Canadiens turnover. Montreal would go on the powerplay less than a minute later on a Matt Bartkowski tripping penalty. A fairly good powerplay by the Canadiens before P.K. Subban floated a wristshot from the point, past Tuukka Rask, at 11:23 for the 1-0 lead. Carey Price flexed his muscles near the end of the period, making two big saves on Torey Krug in close. Montreal played an excellent first period on the road, stifling and frustrating Boston.
A lively start to the second period. Montreal generated a scoring chance on a wraparound attempt 15 seconds in, narrowly missing doubling the lead. David Krejci split the defense going the opposite way and put a backhand wide of Price on a partial breakaway. After some great chances by the Bruins, the Rene Bourque resurrection continued as he made Boston’s defence pay for a turnover, making it 2-0 at 3:38 into the second.
Much of the period belonged to Boston, as Montreal seemed content to let the Bruins come at them. Boston was beginning to come unraveled, with tempers flaring, until Josh Gorges took a holding penalty with 5:44 left in the period. Price made a huge save on Jarome Iginla, who then put his own rebound wide. Dougie Hamilton hammered one off the post later during the powerplay and Montreal dodged another bullet as the penalty ended, with Boston somehow missing an open net. Rask was sharp on the other end, making a nice pad save on Brandon Prust in the slot. Montreal went into the second intermission a little lucky to have a 2-0 lead.
Boston generated the better chances to start the third period and before long, Reilly Smith snuck one in on a screen shot, making it 2-1 at the 2:44 mark. Subban took an interference penalty at 3:18. Patrice Bergeron missed a good opportunity in close as the Bruins pressured but Montreal killed off the powerplay. Krug brought the Bruins level on a shot just inside the faceoff circle at 6:30. Loui Eriksson hit the crossbar a few minutes later as the Bruins swarmed the Canadiens. Bartkowski made a great defensive play to slightly tip a two on one opportunity askew for the Canadiens as the Bruins fourth line drew a big save out Price.
Boston’s domination continued into the second half of the period as they continued to refuse to score on open nets. Rene Bourque single handedly applied pressure around the net, eventually leading to Francis Bouillon picking a corner on Rask for a 3-2 Montreal lead with 7:51 left in the game. Bergeron ‘Emelin’d’ Bourque with a nasty desperation hip check, which energized the Bruins as they nearly turned a fortunate bounce into a goal. Boston piled it on in the final minutes, with a Krug shot finding its way through Price but cleared away by Markov. Boston continued to pepper Price and Johnny Boychuk eventually powered one through from the point to even it up with 1:58 left in the game. Both teams seemed content with going into overtime. Boston outshot Montreal 36-23 through three periods.
Incidental minors to Eller and Brad Marchand at the end of the third period saw overtime start at four-on-four. Both teams traded chances early with Tomas Plekanec missing the best opportunity on a nice feed from Prust. Boston had a close call near the six minute mark on a weird bounce, which somehow stayed out of the net. Boston continued to pressure while the Canadiens hit back on the counter, culminating with Eller getting a good shot on net near the midway point of extra frame.
A little past the midway point, Daniel Briere turned it over at his own blue line and Price needed to be great again to keep the game alive. He continued to be the saviour as he denied Krejci alone in front and then snuffed out a tip off the point shot a few seconds later. At the other end, Rask robbed Eller right in front on a bounce off the end board. With a little over three minutes left, another strange sequence around Price, as the puck was out of sight, then suddenly reappeared in front of an open Montreal net. Daniel Paille took a penalty, throwing out the knee on Brendan Gallagher, with 26 seconds left in the period. Subban got a shot off the offensive draw that went wide as the game moved to a second overtime.
Montreal started the second overtime on the powerplay, with David Desharnais getting a shot on goal, easily handled by Rask. Plekanec then had a shot nicely gloved by Rask shortly after the penalty expired. Montreal did more of the buzzing in the second overtime which led to Matt Bartkowski taking a holding penalty. And what happened next? Subban sent Habs fans to bed feeling great after scoring on the point shot. The Habs steal game one 4-3 in second overtime.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star – Carey Price
This wouldn’t have been close had it not been for Price’s play. This is the goaltending Montreal needs if they’ve got any hope of beating Boston.
48 saves on 51 shots – .941 save percentage – 2.14 GAA
2nd Star – P.K. Subban
Two goals, the game winner, no penalties, complete aggravation for everything black and gold.
2 goals – 0 assists – even rating – 3 shots – 5 hits – 0 takeaways – 33:49 TOI
3rd Star – Rene Bourque
Continued to play a big boy game. Scored again, added a helper, went hard to the net, generated chances, a very good performance from Bourque.
1 goals – 1 assist – +2 rating – 4 shots – 5 hits – 0 takeaways – 24:33 TOI
Lars Eller. Was involved in the play throughout, won some key faceoffs against Bergeron, generated offense and solid two-way play. He looks like he’s got all the confidence in the world right now.
0 goals – 1 assist – +2 rating – 4 shots – 1 hit – 1 takeaway – 22:17 TOI
Stat of the Night
4. That’s the number of shots generated by Pacioretty, Desharnais and Vanek in four plus periods of hockey. While I’m not sure what happened with Vanek and his minimal ice time, if this is the Canadiens biggest threat, these guys need to do a whole lot more than four shots on goal.