Boston, MA – In Game Three of their Stanley Cup quarterfinal series, the Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 2-1, in overtime Sunday night at the TD Banknorth Garden. Boston center Marc Savard scored the game-winning goal, while rookie winger Milan Lucic also scored for the Black & Gold. Forward Tom Kostopoulos scored the lone goal for Montreal.
“It’s a great win for us,” added head coach Claude Julien. “It looked a lot light last night: hard fought, by both teams, and this time Lady Luck smiled on us.”
The playoff series now stands 2-1 in favor of the Canadiens, however the game marked Boston’s first win over the Habs for the 2007-2008 season.
“It’s a big weight lifted off our shoulders,” Lucic continued, “but we can’t take them lightly one bit going into Tuesday, game four.”
The B’s went on an early power play when defenseman Roman Hamrlik was called for roughing at 1:30, but a boarding penalty to Lucic a mere 41 seconds later, at 2:12, evened out amount of players on the ice.
But Lucic flipped the puck above goalie Carey Price’s blocker and into the net at 6:30, putting the Bruins up 1-0.
“[Mark Stuart] made a good pass to me, it was a hard pass, and I just chipped it in, it went all the way around,” explained Lucic, “and Savard didn’t even hesitate, didn’t even look, just found me right in the slot, and I just put everything I had into it, and I found the back of the net.
“[Mark Streit] was right in front of me, so I knew where the net was behind him, and I just tried to put it past him in an area where I could score.”
It was the first time the Black & Gold scored first against Montreal all season.
Defenseman Aaron Ward entered the box at 9:03 for tripping, but Tim Thomas refused to let any Habs shots into his net and the first period buzzer sounded with the Bruins still leading for the first time in the postseason, 1-0.
“I think Timmy’s been getting better here as the series goes on,” said Coach Julien. “In my mind, he stole the show a number of times with some of those saves he made.”
However, a fight between Shane Hnidy and Guillaume Latendresse at the buzzer would put both men in the box for five minutes on fighting penalties. Latendresse also earned an additional two-minute roughing penalty, giving the B’s a power play to start the second.
But Boston was unable to capitalize on their man advantage and Kostopoulos scored at 4:26 to tie the game at one.
A slashing penalty to Kostopoulos at 13:38 gave the B's another chance with the man advantage, Montreal controlled the puck for most of the power play and took the opportunity to let the clock wind down
The teams headed to the locker room after two periods with the score still tied at one.
The referees began to take notice of the more physical game, and several penalties were doled out in the final period: tripping on Ward at 1:47 and a slashing call to Streit at 6:29, followed by a holding penalty for David Krejci at 8:36 and two minutes to Sergei Kostitsyn for roughing at 10:46.
The strong goaltending kept up on both ends of the ice, and with the score tied after 60 minutes of play, the game headed to overtime for the second night in a row.
“I saw a cab [with a quote on the top], it was perfect, it was, ‘When I think I’m tired, that’s when I tell myself to go,’ something to that effect,” said Thomas, explaining the team’s mentality not only through the first 60 minutes but into the extra period as well.
And even though he was probably among the weary, Savard netted the puck on a delayed penalty 9:25 into the first overtime period to give the Bruins a 2-1 win.
“I saw the little hole, and I thought [Peter Schaefer] was going to come right across to me, and he did a great job in holding that puck,” explained a happy Savard. “I knew [Dennis Wideman] saw me when I came in, I was yelling, too. He kind of gave the goalie a little fake, and the net was open.”
The goal, of course, meant more than the normal game-winning goal, as it brought the Bruins back into the series.
“One of the biggest [goals of my life],” said Savard. “It evens out the series and gives us a chance.”
1 - 0 BOS
1 - 1 Tie
1st OT Period
2 - 1 BOS