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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Canadiens Take Game 3, 4-2, For A 2-1 Series Lead Over the Bruins

Around New England if you're a Boston sports fan (and who isn't?), the next couple days are not going to be fun: everyone will be freaking out and there's nothing we can do about it. The Bruins fell 4-2 to the Canadiens tonight at the Bell Centre in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Montreal takes a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 on Thursday (7:30, NBCSN).

Shockingly, for the third straight game the B's fell behind by a pair of goals. They upped the torturous ante more as they went down 3-0 before finally waking up late in the second period. Boston expended plenty of energy to get back in it and they did cut it to 3-2 with a few minutes left but the Canadiens held on and added an empty netter by Lars Eller. Montreal had blown two-goal leads in three consecutive games but you will basically never see a three-goal rally especially in this setting.

Tuukka Rask (22 saves) has allowed three goals or more in every contest this series but you'd be hard-pressed to blame any of these on him, particularly the last two. The Canadiens went up 1-0 at 10:57 on Tomas Plekanec's pretty goal, assisted by Thomas Vanek and P.K. Subban. Boston actually received the first power play (which I didn't think was allowed at the Bell Centre) but six seconds after it was fruitlessly over, Subban came out of the box and beat Rask on a breakaway from Lars Eller and Dale Weise at 14:44.

Believe it or not, Boston played pretty well before that but they were understandably stunned by those and even more so when Weise (a complete bum) was sent in on yet another breakaway and he found a way to score at 13:52. At that point, many teams (cough, Lightning) would have been run out of the Bell Centre but the B's showed their usual dose of heart and spirit as Patrice Bergeorn tipped in Torey Krug's shot at 17:48. Bergeron's third goal of the postseason was assisted by Krug and Brad Marchand.

The Bruins carried the momentum but couldn't make it more interesting until it was too late. Where was that playoff urgency in the first period? The Canadiens for all their faults, are not the Red Wings. Nope, this team kept fightning and Jarome Iginla tipped in Andrej Meszaros' shot from the point at 17:44 of the third period. Milan Lucic had the other assist.

Boston generated some decent pressure with Rask pulled but Carey Price (26 saves) and Montreal's shaky defensemen held firm. Eller punctuated the win with his empty netter. I still believe in the B's since they have yet to show anything close to their best performance vs. the Habs. Given the fact that Game 4 is basically a pseudo must-win for the Black and Gold and I think we'll see them bounce back. Nobody said this series would be easy, we have to stay positive.

UPDATE 5/8: In an interesting roster move, the Bruins recalled forward Matt Fraser from Providence and sent Justin Florek back to the Baby B's. This makes it seem like Fraser could be appearing in Game 4, stay tuned.

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