Montréal Canadiens 4, Boston Bruins 5 FINAL
Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 2:08 AM
Boston, MA –
After a whirlwind third period, the Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 Saturday night at the TD Banknorth Garden, sending their Stanley Cup semifinal series into a seventh game.
It is the first time that the Bruins have trailed 3-1 in a series and forced a seventh game. It is also the first time that Montreal has ever allowed a game seven after leading by three games.
“It’s been huge,” said Milan Lucic
in the middle of an ecstatic Bruins locker room. “But the job’s not done, and we just have to be focused.”
The first period was evenly matched and featured much back and forth action. It was, however, penalty marred.
Boston's Aaron Ward was called for tripping at 7:04, giving the Habs the game’s first power play opportunity. Then, matching penalties were doled out to Phil Kessel and Steve Begin at 9:30 for slashing and diving, respectively.
Having not converted on their man advantage, the Habs took advantage of four-on-four play, and Christopher Higgins snapped the puck past Tim Thomas
off a face-off at 9:44 to give Montreal a 1-0 lead.
Another tripping penalty, this time to Mark Stuart, put Montreal back on the power play at 15:35. But strong work by Thomas and the B's penalty kill unit kept Montreal out of the net.
Punches were thrown in a scrum by the Montreal net as the buzzer sounded, and Zdeno Chara
and Begin were both given roughing penalties, setting up four-on-four play to start the second period.
Just 1:54 into the period, Kessel weaved his way through most of the Montreal players, tossing the puck into the net past Carey Price’s glove and tying the game at one.
“He was challenged by the coaching staff," said Ward. "And obviously he’s responded.”
Tomas Plekanec earned some time in the box and gave the Bruins their first man advantage of the night when he earned a hooking penalty at 5:35.
But after receiving the puck right after he stepped out of the box, Plekanec took a breakaway shot on Thomas that got past the Boston netminder at 7:43 to put the Habs back in the lead, 2-1.
The Black & Gold had another chance with the power play at 8:49 as Mark Streit entered the penalty box for holding, but it turned into another four-on-four, followed by a man advantage for the Canadiens when Marc Savard
joined Streit on a hooking call at 9:50.
P.J. Axelsson was called late in the period, at 18:52, for interference, and Andrei Kostitsyn garnered a diving penalty at the same time, so the four-on-four game that ended the second period would also begin the third.
From the beginning of the final 20 minutes, it was clear that neither team was giving in, and the back-and-forth score proved it, starting with a game-tying goal by Vladimir Sobotka at 3:13. It was his second playoff goal in as many games.
“Obviously we know what we did in that last game to beat him, and that was put pucks to the net,” said Lucic. “Just for us, we went out there, and we wanted to play the way we could play and have no regrets.”
took a two-minute penalty for interference shortly after, at 4:00.
A rebounded shot by Francis Bouillon narrowly made it into the Boston net, bouncing off the crossbar and in while Thomas was on the other side at 10:04, to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Canadiens.
Not ready to throw in the rally towel just yet, Lucic tied it up again, 3-3, with a goal at 12:13, and Kessel pitched in with his second goal of the night to make it 4-3 Boston at 15:45.
“There’s all sorts of emotions there, but you can’t let them take you away from your game,” said David Krejci
of the quick switch of scoring. “You’ve got to stay focused, and we never stopped believing we could do it.”
However, just 11 seconds later, at 15:56, Higgins scored his second goal of the night to tie the game once again.
But it was Marco Sturm
who finally scored the game-winning goal at 17:23, making the final score 5-4 in favor of Boston and forcing a seventh and final game of the series.
“We’re resilient. It’s the understanding that there’s not a whole lot of pressure,” said Ward.
“When we came into the series, the understanding was that they were the favorite, and we’ve had a tough task ahead of us, and I think that’s still the mentality we have.”