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CANADIENS at BRUINS
(Best-of-7 series tied 2-2)
TV: NBCSN, CBC, RDS
Big story: This Eastern Conference Second Round series might not be playing out exactly as planned, but the end results aren't unexpected with the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens even again.
Home-ice advantage has meant little. Each team has won once at home and once on the road, including Boston's 1-0 overtime win in Game 4 at Bell Centre on Thursday. The goaltenders, Boston's Tuukka Rask and Montreal's Carey Price, have been at the top of their games at the most important times.
The players knew there wasn't going to be an easy way through to the Eastern Conference Final.
"We all thought this was going to be a long series," Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges said. "Nothing is ever easy when you play against Boston and Boston plays Montreal."
Canadiens: Montreal might have squandered the home-ice advantage it stole from Boston with a win in Game 1, but the Atlantic Division's second-place team isn't panicking now that the Presidents' Trophy-winning Bruins have reduced this series to the best-of-3.
One thing coach Michel Therrien knows his team has to have is more offense from its top two offensive players, Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais. Without naming names, he made it clear that both must raise their game.
"If you look at the playoffs from the start, there are certain players that are having some trouble contributing offensively. These types of players need to adjust to the intensity of the playoffs," Therrien said Friday. "They are being checked very tightly, we're aware of it on both sides. But there's an intensity to the beginning of the season, an intensity to the middle of the season and there's an intensity to the end of the regular season.
"But when you get to the playoffs, it's another type of intensity. Those types of players need to adapt to that challenge."
Bruins: Boston managed to even this series without a contribution from its first line of David Krejci centering wings Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla. In the Game 2 win, the Bruins got an offensive spark from their second line centered by Patrice Bergeron. Call-up Matt Fraser scored the game-winner in overtime in Game 4 after a connection with center Carl Soderberg.
"They play us tight," center Gregory Campbell said Friday after the Bruins held an optional skate. "And they had some chances, we had some chances, it was back and forth, so in those games, usually it's a mistake by one side or the other, or a goal that's a fluky goal."
"So there's room for improvement, but we did make some steps."
Who's hot: Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban had at least one point in six straight games before Game 4. Forward Brian Gionta is looking for his first goal of the series but had five shots on net and two of the Canadiens' best scoring chances in Game 4. … Rask had his fifth playoff shutout with 33 saves in Game 4. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk was plus-1 with four blocked shots in Game 4.
Injury report: Montreal forward Alex Galchenyuk (lower body) remains out. … Boston forward Chris Kelly (back) and defensemen Dennis Seidenberg (ACL/MCL), Corey Potter (upper body) and Adam McQuaid (ankle) are sidelined.