May 03, 2014 - 1:13 PM
BOSTON - Reilly Smith scored with 3:32 remaining and Milan Lucic added an empty-net goal to cap a remarkable four-goal Boston comeback in the third period as the Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-3 to even their second-round series at one game apiece.
Torey Krug found Smith cruising in towards goal and the Bruins forward rifled a shot past Carey Price for Boston's third goal in five minutes 28 seconds. Lucic's empty-net goal came with 66 seconds remaining.
"They were playing desperate at the end of the game and they found a way to put it in the net," Price said. "We've just got to regroup, realize what the situation we're in, we're in a good spot, and move forward."
Trailing 3-1 midway through the third period, Boston had pulled even on goals by Dougie Hamilton at 10:56 and Patrice Bergeron at 14:17.
Hamilton's shot through traffic, on Boston's second shot of the period, started the comeback. With the Boston fans in full voice, Bergeron then scored on an angled shot that deflected in off defenceman Francis Bouillon.
Up until then, penalties and ill discipline had cost the Bruins, who led 1-0 after the first period before giving up three straight goals. The Canadiens, who went 2-for-3 on the power play in Game 1, were 2-for-6 this time out.
Boston outshot Montreal 35-28.
Game 3 is scheduled for Tuesday at the Bell Centre. And the ill will is mounting each time out.
The Habs had pulled ahead late in the second.
Montreal, with four skaters to Boston's three after Andrej Meszaros joined a Hab and Bruin in the box, went ahead 2-1 at 18:09 of the second after Zdeno Chara failed to clear the puck.
Montreal reloaded and P.K. Subban sent the puck to an unmarked Vanek in front for a tip-in goal.
Vanek scored again at 6:30 of the third, tipping in a Subban blast with Hamilton in the box for his third of the playoffs.
It was vindication for Vanek, whose play has been under scrutiny of late. Subban, meanwhile, extended his points streak to five games.
At the other end, Price frustrated the Bruins for most of a second straight game. The Bruins didn't help their cause managing just one shot on goal in the first 10 minutes of the third period until they came alive before a capacity crowd of 17,565 — TD Garden's 211th straight sellout.
Mike Weaver also scored for the Canadiens.
Daniel Paille opened the scoring for Boston, whose power play (0-for-3) failed to score for the second game in a row.
Despite all the talk of the need for discipline, there was plenty of niggle in this game with eight minors (four per team) called in the first period alone. Nothing major, but clearly no love lost either. The skirmishes started on the opening faceoff as Boston's Brad Marchand and Montreal's Brendan Gallagher, both little magnets for mayhem, tangled.
As he was in Game 1, Subban was booed whenever he had the puck. The subject of racial abuse on social media after his winning goal in Game 1, the Montreal defenceman got support from Gary Bettman before the game. The NHL commissioner condemned "bias and hatred," saying "it has no place in our game and it's not acceptable."
Subban, shaking his wrist, headed to the dressing room during the first period for apparent repairs after getting tangled with Marchand in the corner. He soon returned, showing off his mobility as he skated circles around assorted Bruins.
As in Game 1, Boston came out pressing and Price had to be sharp six minutes in to corral a tip by Jordan Caron.
Montreal had to kill off one minute of 5-on-3 when Brandon Prust followed Dale Weise into the box with 7:18. The Canadiens survived the penalties but needed a Price stop on a Bergeron backhand.
At the other end, Tuukka Rask stopped Max Pacioretty.
Paille opened the scoring at 13:02 after Carl Soderberg retrieved a long rebound off the back boards and fired a quick, accurate pass over to his teammate who was unmarked in the slot. It came on Boston's 10th shot, compared to five for Montreal, and followed some fierce Bruin backchecking in the neutral zone.
Paille missed the first round of the playoffs with a concussion.
Chara took a shot in the chest from Subban after driving the Habs defenceman into the glass late in the period. Both were penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Boston outshot Montreal 13-6 in the period, with Pacioretty taking three for Montreal.
The Canadiens came out hot in the second and tied it up at 1:09 after a Boston turnover. The Habs missed two glorious chances — Rask stopped a Gallagher shot and Brandon Prust was unable to stuff in the rebound — before Tomas Plekanec retrieved the puck, circled the goal and passed to Weaver whose shot beat Rask through heavy traffic.
Montreal had seven of the first eight shots of the second period.
Loui Eriksson had a good chance midway through the period when he got the puck alone in the slot but Price waited him out and made the save when the Bruin finally pulled the trigger.
The Bruins pushed back, coming at the Montreal goal in waves. Price was up to the task, stopping Bergeron and then Krug as he hammered a shot from the top of the faceoff circle.
A Boston goal with 4:36 remaining in the period was called off, with Lucic ruled to have directed the puck in with his glove. There was no complaint from Lucic, who didn't celebrate.
Seconds later, a sprawling Price denied Lucic with a spectacular pad save.
At the other end, the Bruins took umbrage at Lars Eller's snow shower of Rask with a pair of a minors being called on the ensuing scrum behind the goal. Vanek scored his first soon after, tipping the game in Montreal's favour.
The Bruins' woes continued with a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct later in the period. Montreal outshot Boston 15-13 in a second period that saw six minors called.
NOTES: Rask stopped 146 of 152 shots (.961 save percentage) in the first round against Detroit. He gave up four goals on 33 shots in Game 1 Thursday, dropping his save percentage to .946. Price's save percentage was .916 after Game 1, when he stopped 48 of 51 shots.
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News from © The Canadian Press, 2014