Final, Bruins 4-2: That’s it, and that’s all. The Bruins lead the series for the first time after an impressive 4-2 win here at TD Garden. We’ll have plenty more in a little bit.
Third period, 18:30, Bruins 4-2: The Montreal net is still empty.
Third period, 17:31, Bruins 4-2: Shortly after “Subban sucks” rained down from the Garden crowd, P.K. Subban blasted a one-timer from the point that beat Tuukka Rask for the power-play goal. Montreal isn’t dead just yet.
Third period, 16:38, Bruins 4-1: Matt Bartkowski is going to the penalty box. He pulled down P.K. Subban and was called for holding.
Third period, 15:51, Bruins 4-1: Michel Therrien is pulling a Patrick Roy by pulling his goalie with a whole bunch of time left. Carey Price went off the ice shortly after the faceoff following the Loui Eriksson goal.
Third period, 14:12, Bruins 4-1: That one might do it.
The Bruins just scored again, and it was a gorgeous play from the third line. Matt Fraser carried the puck into the Montreal end and stopped on a dime. He got around the defenseman and then put the puck on net. Carey Price made a pad save, but Loui Eriksson was there for the rebound. Eriksson waited for Price to go down, and then put the puck around the goalie for the goal.
Third period, 10:07, Bruins 3-1: Montreal still needs a pair of goals, which means they’re going to open things up here as it starts to get late. That has led to some chances for the Bruins.
Brad Marchand got a partial breakaway a few minutes ago, but the Canadiens defense got back and got just enough of Marchand to take away his ability to get a real good wrist shot off. A few shifts later, a long stretch pass out of the Boston end sprung Loui Eriksson and Matt Fraser on a 2-on-1. Eriksson carried the puck into the zone and opted to shoot as his shot went just wide of the net.
Third period, 5:16, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins’ second line just did a nice job of playing transitional hockey, and it ended with a golden chance for Reilly Smith. The Boston winger was all alone at the left hashmark, but his shot was right into Carey Price’s chest.
That transition was started by a really good pad save from Tuukka Rask on an Alexei Emelin shot, as Rask somehow saw the puck through traffic in front of him.
Third period, 0:01, Bruins 3-1: The third period is underway here at the Garden.
End second period, Bruins 3-1: The second period has ended after a good shift from the Patrice Bergeron line. The Bruins will take a 3-1 lead into the dressing room for the second intermission.
Second period, 18:36, Bruins 3-1: It doesn’t matter which line he’s playing against, Douglas Murray can’t get out of his own way. The Bruins are getting opportunities every time the Montreal defenseman is on the ice, and that continued with the Boston fourth line. Gregory Campbell won the puck from Murray and got it to Shawn Thornton who put a close-range backhander on net. Carey Price was able to make the save on a shot that just hit him in the chest.
Second period, 14:39, Bruins 3-1: The Canadiens have broken through.
Brendan Gallagher looked to tip a shot by Tuukka Rask for the Canadiens’ first goal since Game 3. Gallagher deflected Tomas Plekanec’s shot from the high left wing.
Second period, 13:01, Bruins 3-0: The Canadiens are going back on the power play. Brad Marchand and Lars Eller got tied up along the boards, and it’s Marchand who came away with the penalty. He was called for holding, and the B’s will try to kill off yet another Montreal power play.
Second period, 11:15, Bruins 3-0: As we mentioned in the first period, this one’s been a little chippy. That’s continued here in the second period. Milan Lucic and P.K. Subban got tangled up in a pretty good battle along the boards deep in Montreal’s end. That ended with some pushing, shoving and a couple of shots up near the head.
Lucic eventually skated off the ice, as the Bruins kept the puck in the Montreal zone. Subban then iced it with an ill-advised pass the length of the rink. As Subban was skating by the Boston bench, someone said something. The two started jawing back and forth, and Lucic ended up flexing his bicep at Subban.
Second period, 8:16, Bruins 3-0: The Canadiens are burning their timeout after P.K. Subban iced the puck.
Second period, 6:56, Bruins 3-0: The Bruins continue to put the pressure on. They’re not taking their foot off the gas and they’ve spent a good majority of the five minutes since the third goal in the Montreal end.
If the Canadiens don’t get things together soon, they’re going to be run out of the building in this one.
Second period, 1:36, Bruins 3-0: That didn’t take long. Right after the offensive face-off, Jarome Iginla ripped a one-timer by Carey Price from the left wing to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead.
Second period, 1:30, Bruins 2-0: Boston is getting another power play. Tomas Plekanec was called for high sticking.
Second period, 1:04, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins have themselves a two-goal lead.
Reilly Smith is going to get credited with the power-play goal after he redirected a Dougie Hamilton shot from the right point, as the puck squirted underneath Carey Price for Boston’s second goal of the game.
Second period, 0:01, Bruins 1-0: The second period is underway with the Bruins on the power play for 1:44
First period reaction: All in all, there’s not a lot to complain about in that first period for the Bruins. The B’s came out with arguably their best start of the series, and they took advantage of a Canadiens team that looked a little sleepy.
Starts have been an issue for the Bruins, so getting that early lead is huge. Carl Soderberg has played well for just about the entire series, and he was finally rewarded for that with the game’s only goal so far. That came after a nice play by Loui Eriksson to take a hit from Douglas Murray to move the puck. Even Matt Fraser did his job on the play as he was there to jump on any sort of rebound, and he actually jammed the puck in just to make sure after the puck ricocheted out.
The other really good thing the Bruins have done so far has been their work on the penalty kill. Boston killed off all three Montreal power plays, which is a far cry from where the B’s were to start the series. There appears to be two big differences right now. First, the Bruins are doing a much better job of clogging up shooting lanes and closing out on the shooter. The Canadiens got far too many open looks in the first two or three games, and the Bruins have made the necessary adjustments to shut down the Habs. The B’s are also doing a better job of slowing the rush at their own blue line and not allowing the Habs to easily carry the puck into the offensive zone. It doesn’t hurt that the Canadiens weren’t very good to open the game.
End first period, Bruins 1-0: The first period has come to a close, and the Bruins will have 1:44 of power-play time to begin the second.
First period, 19:44, Bruins 1-0: Things are getting a little testy here, and the Bruins are getting a power play to end the period. Tomas Plekanec bowled over Tuukka Rask, and Plekanec gets a penalty for that. After the play, Tuukka Rask took a swing at Plekanec.
First period, 19:50, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins were able to come up with yet another good penalty kill, and they have erased the Tuukka Rask delay of game penalty.
First period, 17:00, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins did a really good job of killing the penalty. They took away shooting lanes, made it difficult for Montreal to establish anything and cleared when they had the chances. Hopefully, for their case, they’re up for it again. Tuukka Rask made a save shortly after the power play ended, and he then batted the puck over the glass, which is a delay of game penalty.
First period, 14:46, Bruins 1-0: The Canadiens are going to get another power play. Dougie Hamilton was called for interference, and the Habs get the chance on the man-advantage.
First period, 13:20, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins’ third line continues to generate offense, and they have given the Bruins a rare lead.
Loui Eriksson carried the puck behind the net, centered to Carl Soderberg, and the Swedish forward put the wrist shot by Carey Price.
First period, 10:00, 0-0: The Bruins’ power play was unsuccessful, and they are fighting it at this point. The first unit, which is comprised of the David Krejci line, was struggling in a big way to control the puck. They just look out of sync right now.
First period, 7:58, 0-0: The Montreal power play is over, and the Bruins are going to have another man-advantage soon. Tomas Plekanec was just called for interference after he set a pick on Daniel Paille in the neutral zone. There will be 14 seconds of 4-on-4 play before 1:46 of Boston power-play time.
First period, 6:12, 0-0: The Bruins failed to convert on the power play. They’ve now gone 38 consecutive postseason postseason power plays against Montreal without scoring, a stretch that dates all the way back to 2009.
After the TV timeout, the Bruins will have to kill off a penalty. Matt Bartkowski was called for holding after he hauled down Lars Eller deep in the Boston end, so the Habs get their first crack at the power play.
First period, 4:00, 0-0: The Bruins are getting the game’s first power play. Max Pacioretty is the guilty party, as he hooked Matt Bartkowski.
First period, 2:43, 0-0: The Bruins came within inches of scoring the first goal of the game. Reilly Smith hit the post — yet another — with a shot from the slot, and the game remains scoreless.
First period, 0:01, 0-0: We’re underway here at the Garden with a loud crowd on hand.
6:55 p.m.: It’s official. Danny Briere is scratched, and Brandon Prust will replace him in the Montreal lineup for Game 5.
6:36 p.m.: If Daniel Briere is indeed scratched, the Canadiens are doing a good job of hiding that fact. Briere is taking part in the pregame warmups, centering the fourth line. We’ll see.
6:35 p.m.: Pregame warmups are underway here at the Garden. No real surprises on either side. Milan Lucic, who opted out of the morning skate, is on for the Bruins. On the other side, Daniel Briere — reportedly scratched for this one — is on the ice, too.
6:10 p.m.: The Canadiens are reportedly making a lineup change. The reported move is that Brandon Prust will come into the lineup, and Danny Briere will be a healthy scratch. We’ll find out in about 20 minutes during pregame warmups.
12:30 p.m.: Here’s video of the Max Pacioretty media scrum after the Habs’ morning skate courtesy of The Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs.
12:20 p.m.: Bruins coach Claude Julien made his thoughts clear about the officiating in this series so far. It’s been really, really good, the head coach said Saturday morning.
“You can say what you want, I have no complaints about the refereeing. In this series, I think they’ve done a wonderful job of letting both teams play.”
That’s quite the departure from Game 2. It was in that game that the Bruins were given an unsportsmanlike conduct bench minor for something Julien said to the officials. After that game, Julien said he was proud of the way his team dealt with some “crap,” which seemed to be at least somewhat aimed at the officiating.
So when Montreal head coach Michel Therrien was told about Julien’s praise for the officials, the Habs bench boss had a humorous response. Therrien let out a big laugh before also complimenting the officials.
12:05 p.m.: Bruins winger Matt Fraser was a popular guy once again after the Bruins’ morning skate finished at the Garden. He spoke about a lot of things — including frozen yogurt — and it’s clear that he’s got a good head on his shoulders.
Here’s a quick post about how Fraser went out of his way to thank his family and friends for support, as well as how he hopes he’s made his parents proud.
12 p.m: One of the developing storylines in this series has been the work the Bruins have done in slowing the Canadiens’ top line of Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais and Thomas Vanek.
Pacioretty has been especially quiet, as he’s registered just one assist through the four games. He’s also been quiet off the ice, as he hasn’t spoke much at all since the series began. He broke that silence on Saturday following the Canadiens’ morning skate here at the Garden.
As you might expect, Pacioretty is vowing to be better.[tweet https://twitter.com/reporterchris/status/465158971649560577 align=’center’] [tweet https://twitter.com/reporterchris/status/465159166110072832 align=’center’]
My NESN.com colleague Nick Goss will have more on what the Bruins have done to slow down Pacioretty and company a little later on.
11:30 a.m.: The Canadiens are on the ice for morning skate at the Garden, and they’re without winger Rene Bourque. It’s a “therapy day” for Bourque, according to the Canadiens.
10:40 a.m.: The Bruins have a well-attended morning skate this morning. The only player not on the ice is Milan Lucic, so it looks like he’s taking his option. The big forward did take part in the team’s optional practice on Friday.
8 a.m.: The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have gone back and forth all series long, and they’ll play a pivotal Game 5 on Saturday night at TD Garden.
The B’s tied the series in dramatic fashion on Thursday night in Game 4. Recently called-up forward Matt Fraser played the hero for a night at least, as he jammed home the game’s lone goal in Boston’s 1-0 win that evened the series at two games apiece. It’s now a best-of-three series with two of those games in Boston, starting on Saturday night.
It can’t be overstated how important winning Game 5 is for either team. For the Bruins, a win in Game 5 means they would head back to Montreal for Game 6 with a home game in their back pocket. At best, they win the series. At worst, they come home and try to win it in a Game 7. If the Canadiens win Saturday night, they obviously get to go home and try to wrap up the series in Game 6.
The Bruins know that they’ve yet to play their best hockey through four games. Boston has been out of sorts all series long, and their dominant regular-season play seems like a long time ago. But it’s not like they’re playing bad, either.
“We’ve been better, I think there’s no doubt,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said Friday afternoon. “I don’t think our team is playing badly at all. I know that our team is capable of playing a little better than we have and have show so far. That’s not even close to saying we’re not playing well. We are playing well, but I think there’s some potential in our team to be even better.”
One line the Bruins really want to see be better has to be the top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla. That line has been virtually nonexistent the entire series, and they were virtual non-factors in both games in Montreal. Perhaps a return home will spark them. That line is at its best when the wingers are getting in deep on the forecheck and taking the body. Getting back in a positive environment in front of the Garden crowd might spark them and lead to a better effort.
Any sort of production from that line — or any others — would be huge given the way this series is playing out. Both teams tightened up defensively in Game 4, and while there were plenty of shots, many of those came from the outside. That usually makes work easy for the goalies Tuukka Rask and Carey Price, as evidenced by just the one goal on Thursday night. It probably wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the series continue to head in that direction, which makes cashing in on opportunities even more important.
Puck drop from the Garden is set for 7 p.m. We’ll have updates throughout the day with the Bruins live blog brought to you by Berkshire Bank.