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Friday, May 2, 2014

Montreal Takes Game 1, 4-3 in 2OT

It's only one game but you can feel that the next few weeks are going to be full of some intense NHL playoff games between the blood rival Bruins and Canadiens. Montreal won Game 1 tonight at TD Garden, 4-3 in 2OT on P.K. Subban's power play goal (his second of the game). There is something about Game 1s this postseason that apparently don't agree with Boston as they lost their second in a row. Unlike the one vs. Detroit where they were shut out 1-0, this time they rallied from down 2-0 with three goals in the third period but still came up short.

Boston had 51 shots on goal but Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (48 saves) played about as well as he could plus he was helped out by countless Bruins bungling fantastic chances to score. Montreal built the 2-0 advantage thanks to Subban's power play goal at 11:23 of the first period, a wrist shot through traffic that Tuukka Rask (29 saves) never seemed to pick up.

The Canadiens doubled their lead early in the second period as Rene Bourque beat Rask through his five-hole at 3:38. Boston finally woke up in the third period, in a big way. Reilly Smith cut it to 2-1 at 2:44, his screened shot from the sidewall was his second of the playoffs and it was assisted by Brad Marchand and Dougie Hamilton. Another Bruins youngster stepped up as Torey Krug tied it at two at 6:30 with one of his patented low missiles. His second goal of the postseason was assisted by Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron.

Credit to Montreal as all the momentum in the Garden was on Boston's side but still they scored a go-ahead goal at 12:09: Francis Bouillon (what other team would he be on with a name like that?) slammed one home from former BC star Brian Gionta and Bourque. The third period was basically bananas as the team's traded haymakers; Johnny Boychuk's was the last as he tied it at three at 18:02. His Johnny Rocket was his first goal of the postseason, assisted by Marchand and Loui Eriksson. That bomb from the point caught Price off guard (he barely moved) because he was screened beautifully in front of the net.

As always, this game serves as a reminder that anything can happen in overtime. The B's should have wrapped it up in the first overtime since they outshot the Canadiens 14-6. Two penalties ultimately crippled them though as Daniel Paille was called for tripping with 27 seconds left. Boston killed that off but shortly thereafter, Matt Bartkowski was nabbed for holding. Refs never want to make a call in overtime but these two were so obvious that they had to.

Montreal's power play looked like something to fear (2 for 3) and Boston's had an off night (0 for 2) with not enough chances if we're being honest. It's probably best for the Bruins that Game 2 is so close by on Saturday (12:30, NBC), therefore they don't have to let the pain of Game 1 fester for too long. It's not a must-win but they could really use a victory before they head to the Bell Centre where it is really hard for visiting teams to win.

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