Final, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins win the game, and they tie the series. Matt Fraser scored the game-winner. Fraser gave a relentless effort on a scramble around the net, and he finally got around Douglas Murray and jammed the puck by the Canadiens D-man.
Overtime, 0:01, 0-0: Overtime in Game 4 is underway.
End third period, 0-0: This game is going to overtime. Because of course. The third period just came to an end with no real chances from either teams in the final minutes.
Third period, 18:00, 0-0: Two minutes to play in the third period.
Third period, 15:22, 0-0: The Bruins are starting to level the ice some, and that just turned into a good shift from the first line, which is an encouraging sign for the B’s with the way they’ve been playing. Still, the Canadiens are doing a good job of keeping Boston from the front of the net. It’s going to be a test of will to get in front of Carey Price and generate some offense.
Third period, 12:22, 0-0: Tuukka Rask just made another save on Michael Bournival. Zdeno Chara fell in front of Rask, but he was able to fight off the shot that hit him in the chest.
Third period, 10:21, 0-0: The Bruins could not convert on the power play. Reilly smith came within inches of scoring, but he hit the crossbar — the third time in this game the Bruins have found iron.
Third period, 8:21, 0-0: The Bruins have a huge power play coming up. Alexei Emelin just boarded David Krejci, and the Bruins get their second power play.
Third period, 6:21, 0-0: The Canadiens are really putting the pressure on, and so far, Tuukka Rask has been up to the task. The Habs have put six shots on goal in the third, and Rask has stopped all of them.
Third period, 5:00, 0-0: Tuukka Rask has had a good start to the period. He’s stopped all five shots he’s seen so far, including a 1-2 combination on a shot from Andrei Markov and then a rebound attempt for Brian Gionta. The Canadiens have been really good to start the period, and they’re taking it to the Bruins right now.
Third period, 0:01, 0-0: The most important period of the Bruins’ season is underway.
End second period, 0-0: The second period is over, and we still have yet to see a goal. The Bruins tilted the ice in a big way, and they have nothing to show for it after the second period siren. It’s the same old story at this point.
Second period, 14:30, 0-0: Tuukka Rask just made the save of the game so far.
Brian Gionta got free through the neutral zone and came in on a breakaway. His backhanded attempt was stuffed by Rask, and the game remains scoreless.
Second period, 13:49, 0-0: The Bruins just got a huge penalty kill and are back to even strength.
Second period, 11:49, 0-0: Now Montreal gets a power play.
Matt Bartkowski just hauled down Lars Eller behind the Boston net, and Montreal is getting its first crack on the man-advnatage.
Second period, 10:30, 0-0: The Bruins’ third line — the Carl Soderberg line — is buzzing, but they can’t find the back of the net. With the net to his back, Soderberg just made a really nice play to whirl and get a pass through the slot to Matt Fraser, who was camped out in front and battling for position. However, the pass was broken up at the last second, and the scoring chance ended pretty quickly.
Second period, 9:05, 0-0: Yet again, the Bruins’ power play comes up short. The Bruins had good zone time to start, but the second half of the power play was a disaster.
Second period, 7:05, 0-0: For the second time in as many games, the Bruins have the game’s first power play. P.K. Subban is the guilty party again, after he just pulled down Brad Marchand.
Second period, 7:00, 0-0: The first TV timeout of the second period is here, and the Bruins are controlling the play for the first time in a long time in this series, probably their most sustained attack since Game 2.
The fourth line has been incredible through a couple of shifts in the second period, and even the first line is starting to show some life. It also helps that Tuukka Rask just made his biggest save of the game during one of Montreal’s few advances into the Boston zone. Brian Gionta passed it to Lars Eller, and his deflection was stopped by Rask.
Second period, 4:00, 0-0: Fine start to the period for the Bruins. They just had two really good shifts from the fourth and second lines respectively, and the Bruins have really tilted the ice. They’ve yet to cash in on that, though.
Second period, 0:01, 0-0: The second period is underway.
First period reaction: The good news for the Bruins is that they’re not trailing after 20 minutes of hockey. They were also able to generate enough offensively to put 13 shots on goal. Other than that, it’s been a struggle yet again. The Bruins just don’t seem right; they don’t seem like themselves. They’re still sloppy with the puck with just too many turnovers. Luckily for the B’s, the Habs haven’t really made them pay. That’s in part because the Bruins have done a good job of getting back, and they’ve clogged the neutral zone.
The Bruins need something — anything — out of their first line. Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla have attempted just one shot in the entire first period. Just one! That’s insane. They have been ghosts, and the Bruins need them to be so much better. They haven’t made any sort of an impact yet, and if they don’t get going, the Bruins are not going to win this series.
Tuukka Rask has been good so far. He’s stopped all 10 shots he’s seen. He, like just about everyone else in white, has been skittish. But he’s made the saves when he’s needed to, and that’s all that matters at this point.
End first period, 0-0: That’s a wrap on what was a pretty entertaining first period.
First period, 19:17, 0-0: Carl Soderberg just hit the crossbar with the entire top half of the net staring him in the face, as Carey Price was down on his knees. The Bruins just cannot bury their chances.
First period, 18:00, 0-0: The Bruins just had another good chance. Reilly Smith walked the puck down the left wing and put a backhanded shot on net from in close. The rebound was loose in the slot, but the Canadiens did a good job of keeping Patrice Bergeron from the rebound.
At the other end, Michael Bournival had an open look from the left wing, but his shot was right into the spoked-B on Tuukka Rask’s sweater.
First period, 16:00, 0-0: Torey Krug just had a rare open look from atop the left faceoff circle. Krug fired low again, and Carey Price was able to make a glove save on his left blocker.
First period, 10:25, 0-0: The Bell Centre is rocking again, and that’s because Douglas Murray just dropped the hammer on Shawn Thornton as the Bruins forward was skating into the Boston zone.
That came just a few moments after a couple of good chances from the Canadiens that started from, you guessed it, Bruins’ turnovers. Dougie Hamilton tried to pass the puck up the boards in the Boston zone for Brad Marchand, but Marchand couldn’t handle the puck and ended up turning it over to Montreal. Luckily for the Bruins, he gave it to Michael Bournival, and Bournival’s shot was easily gloved by Tuukka Rask.
First period, 6:45, 0-0: Max Pacioretty was just slow to get up after taking a big hit from Jarome Iginla along the side boards. Pacioretty is still on the bench, but the Habs winger is still in some pain.
First period, 6:02, 0-0: Pretty back-and-forth start so far. First, the good for the Bruins. They’ve had the puck for much of the period, and that’s allowed them to put five shots on goal, which doesn’t include Jarome Iginla hitting the crossbar.
The negative is that that the Bruins are still way too sloppy with the puck. A Matt Bartkowski turnover became a scoring chance for Brendan Gallagher, and the first line turned the puck over in the neutral zone, which led to a scoring chance for Rene Bourque. The Bruins have had the puck for a lot of the first few minutes, but they need to do a better job of taking care of it.
First period, 5:00, 0-0: The Bruins’ best chance of the game so far just came from Jarome Iginla. The winger had all the time and space in the world on the left wing, but his wrist shot rang the crossbar.
First period, 0:01, 0-0: The game is underway.
7:30 p.m.: Matt Fraser will make his Stanley Cup playoffs debut. Matt Bartkowski is back in, too.
7:10 p.m.: As (somewhat) expected, it appears Matt Fraser and Matt Bartkowski will step into the Bruins’ lineup. That’s according to the pregame line rushes, at least.
Fraser is skating on the left wing with the third line, which allows Daniel Paille to move back to the fourth line. Bartkowski would be replacing Andrej Meszaros on the back end.
7:03 p.m.: The Bruins and Canadiens have taken the ice for pregame warmups, so we might know a little more about lineup changes momentarily.
6:30 p.m.: All of the hubbub entering Game 3 in Montreal was centered around what would happen with the officiating. When it was all said and done, though, only two minor penalties were called — one to each team — in an otherwise tame affair. If the referees are busier in Game 4, then the Bruins are going to need to be better on both sides of the special teams coin.
The Boston power play was a huge reason for the Bruins’ success in the first round. However, the B’s are 0-for-6 on the man-advantage to start the series. Their one power play in Game 3 was a train wreck, too. Boston did nothing to generate any sort of momentum, and as the penalty expired, P.K. Subban stepped out of the box, took a long pass and dashed into the Bruins zone before scoring on Tuukka Rask. The B’s have now gone 35 straight power plays without scoring against Montreal in the playoffs. That’s a drought that dates back to 2009 and includes an 0-for-21 in the Bruins’ first-round series win back in 2011.
The penalty kill hasn’t been much better. Boston did kill Montreal’s first and only power play in Game 3, but they’ve still allowed four power-play goals in the series, killing just six of 10 Habs power plays.
So you can go ahead and count the special teams among the multiple areas in which the Bruins need to improve on starting Thursday night.
12:25 p.m.: It’s still unknown, publicly at least, whether Matt Fraser will be in the Boston lineup for Game 4. Claude Julien has said that type of stuff will be a game-time decision. Julien also joked about the aforementioned line combinations, and as expected, it doesn’t sound like those will stick. You never know, though.[tweet https://twitter.com/NHLBruins/status/464439872498200576 align=’center’] [tweet https://twitter.com/SunGarrioch/status/464439303909953536 align=’center’]
12:22 p.m.: Simple as that, apparently.[tweet https://twitter.com/SunGarrioch/status/464439964449898496 align=’center’]
12:20 p.m.: As speculated earlier, Carl Soderberg “took his option” and will play in Game 4, Bruins coach Claude Julien just said at his post-morning skate news conference.[tweet https://twitter.com/NHLBruins/status/464439290265473024 align=’center’]
11:55 a.m.: Again, here are the lines that the Bruins are showing at the morning skate, which is probably a far cry from what we’ll see when the puck actually drops on Game 4.
Milan Lucic — Patrice Bergeron — Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille — David Krejci — Reilly Smith
Brad Marchand — Gregory Campbell — Jarome Iginla
Matt Fraser — Jordan Caron — Shawn Thornton
Those lines certainly would be interesting, if Claude Julien were to stick with the combinations. That top line would feature an interesting mix with the big-bodied, physical Milan Lucic playing off of the two-way presence of both Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson. Of course, Bergeron makes everyone around him better, which might be huge for both Lucic and Eriksson, who are slumping.
The second line would be a rare occasion in which the Bruins would have a line that might actually come close to matching that of the Canadiens. Paille is a burner and Smith moves well, too. Krejci’s vision is second to none on the roster, and his ability to move the puck would play into that speed.
The third line is just a weird, hodge-podge combination that might work. Might not. And that fourth line wouldn’t play much at all, especially with a winger — Jordan Caron — centering the line. That bottom six is why you probably shouldn’t read a ton into the lines.
11:40 a.m.: Bruins coach Claude Julien might be having some fun with everyone. That, or he’s really, really going to change things up for Game 4.
Here are the line combinations he’s showing at morning skate. They’re awesome.[tweet https://twitter.com/GlobeFluto/status/464429338763345920 align=’center’]
11:29 a.m.: The Bruins have taken the ice for morning skate at Bell Centre, and according to reporters in Montreal, Bruins forward Carl Soderberg is not on the ice.
What does this mean? It’s way too early to tell. Soderberg could have just taken an option. That, or he’s banged up. Or maybe something else. Either way, he’s not on the ice in Montreal, and Brad Marchand has taken his place on the Bruins’ second power-play unit.[tweet https://twitter.com/conroyherald/status/464426828489187329 align=’center’]
11:15 a.m.: The Canadiens don’t appear to be making any lineup changes, at least it doesn’t seem that way if you read between the lines.
Defenseman Francis Bouillon and forward Brandon Prust stayed on the ice for extra work after morning skate, according to NHL.com’s Arpon Basu. So expect them to get the night off once again.[tweet https://twitter.com/ArponBasu/status/464422628288389120 align=’center’]
11:05 a.m.: The Canadiens have wrapped up an optional morning skate at their practice facility in Brossard.
According to the Habs’ Twitter account there were a handful of skaters who took their option. That list includes Max Pacioretty, Brian Gionta, Brendan Gallagher, Dale Weise, Lars Eller, P.K. Subban and Carey Price.
We expect head coach Michel Therrien to address the media shortly, so we’ll have any sort of updates that might come out of that gathering.
9:30 a.m.: The Boston Bruins need to be better — a lot better.
The B’s turned in one of their worst games in a long time on Tuesday. The result was a Game 3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in their second-round Stanley Cup playoffs series. Boston will get a chance to improve and even the series when they take on the Habs on Thursday night at the Bell Centre in Game 4.
For the Bruins, it should be all about the start. The B’s have fallen behind in all three games of the series so far, and if it weren’t for a miracle third-period comeback in Game 2, the B’s would be staring a 3-0 series deficit in the face right now. While they have displayed the ability to make a game of it in all three games, catch-up hockey is losing hockey, and the focus will be on a fast start in Game 4.
“I think obviously we want to start — I think that every team would tell you the same thing, no team’s going into a game saying, I hope I’m down 1-0 to start,” Bruins winger Shawn Thornton said Wednesday, according to the team’s website. “So yes, we’d like to score the first one, but like I’ve said, it’s uncharacteristic of us to give that (type of goal) up.”
The Bruins also need some sort of offensive wake-up, especially early in the game. The B’s have scored 10 goals (one of those an empty-net goal) in this series, but they have still look disjointed offensively at times. Boston has actually been able to get more chances, but the Bruins haven’t done much of anything with those opportunities. Unfortunately for them, the scoreboard only cares about goals, not chances.
Much of the emphasis on offense will fall on the Bruins’ first line. The combination of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla has struggled to get much of anything going in the entire postseason, let alone this series. That’s been especially true for Krejci, who has just three points in eight playoff games so far. That line, and really much of the Boston offense, goes as he goes, and they need him to be better if they’re going to win this series.
The B’s also made a roster move ahead of Game 4. Boston recalled winger Matt Fraser from Providence and sent Justin Florek back to Providence. It’s unclear if Fraser will be in the lineup — Florek sat the last two games — but if he is in, he should give the Bruins a little more scoring touch on the wing. He’s a big guy who also plays physical, so he could help there, too.
We should find out more about both lineups in the next couple of hours or so when the Habs take the ice for their morning skate at 10:30 a.m. followed by the Bruins at 11:30.
Puck drop from the Bell Centre is set for 7:30 p.m. Be sure to check back throughout the day for updates on everything related to B’s-Habs in the Bruins live blog, which is brought to you by Berkshire Bank.