Final, Bruins 4-2: The Bruins had to survive a nerve-wracking third period, but they have their first win of the series and are right back in this first-round matchup with Montreal.
The fast start held up despite a furious rally by the Canadiens in the final two periods, when they poured 28 of their 36 shots on Tim Thomas.
The Bruins now get two days to rest, as they’ll travel to Lake Placid before returning to Montreal for Game 4 on Thursday.
Third Period, 19:34, Bruins 4-2: Chris Kelly appears to have locked this one up with an empty-net goal to push the lead back to two.
Third Period, 18:52, Bruins 3-2: Price has been pulled for the extra attacker.
Third Period, 17:25, Bruins 3-2: A mad scramble in front, but Thomas holds the fort as Scott Gomez tries to bang it home in the crease. Tempers flare after the whistle with some shoves, but no penalties are called.
Third Period, 15:33, Bruins 3-2: Kostitsyn with a bid for his second goal of the night, but Thomas comes up with a huge stop on a shot from the left slot.
Third Period, 12:37, Bruins 3-2: Michael Ryder with a steal and nearly gets in for a bid, but it’s broken up in front. A rare bit of offense from the Bruins in the third.
Third Period, 9:30, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins seem to have weathered that big push by the Habs and have settled things down a bit, but Montreal will certainly have more surges that Boston will have to withstand to hold on to this one.
Third Period, 6:44, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins fail again to convert on the power play, and the crowd is absolutely deafening here at the Bell Centre as the Ole, Ole, Ole chants break out for the first time tonight.
Third Period, 4:44, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins get a power-play chance to try to stem this Montreal momentum as Kostitsyn goes off for slashing.
Third Period, 4:08, Bruins 3-2: The Habs aren’t denied this time, as Tomas Plekanec pulls Montreal within one.
He comes down the right wing, pulls up and spins, firing a shot around Chara and through Thomas’ pads.
Third Period, 3:48, Bruins 3-1: The Habs keep coming, first with Brian Gionta nearly scoring from the right wing, then Mathieu Dache in close at the right post. He slams his stick into the post in frustration after Thomas’ save.
Third Period, 2:09, Bruins 3-1: The Habs came about as close to scoring as possible as Jaroslav Spacek fires a shot in from the left boards with Tom Pyatt positioned at the right post looking for the redirection.
Third Period, 0:44, Bruins 3-1: The Habs are all over the Bruins early, but Thomas and the defense somehow keep the puck out of the net as it bounces all over the crease.
Third Period, 0:00, Bruins 3-1: The final frame is under way here at the Bell Centre, with the Bruins looking to hold on for a vital win to get them right back into the series.
Second Intermission Notes: The Bruins and Habs traded goals in the second, which Boston will take as they maintain their two-goal advantage.
The Bruins had a chance to put this one away, though, as they extended the lead to 3-0, before a Milan Lucic breakaway. But Carey Price made a huge save, and Andrei Kostitsyn scored 18 seconds later and suddenly this one was a game again.
The Bruins can’t relax at all in the third, as the Bell Centre crowd is back in it after that goal and the Habs will throw everything they have at Boston in the final 20 minutes. The Bruins’ penalty kill has come up big, denying Montreal on all four of its power-play chances. Boston own power play, however, remains powerless as the Bruins are 0-for-3 with the man-advantage, though they did score once right after a Montreal penalty expired.
Zdeno Chara continues to rack up the ice time. He’s now at 18:03 through two periods with an assist, a shot, a hit and a blocked shot. He’s only a plus-1 now, as Kostitsyn got around him for the Montreal goal.
End Second Period, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins’ PK comes through with a huge kill and Boston will take a two-goal lead into the third period.
Second Period, 17:55, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins face a big penalty kill here as Mark Recchi takes a bad offensive-zone penalty with a hold on James Wisniewski as he took his hand off his stick and tries to get around the Habs defenseman.
Second Period, 13:16, Bruins 3-1: Strong shift from the top line and Chara creating multiple chances and turning the momentum back to the Bruins a bit, but not cashing in there on a couple of those near-misses could haunt the Bruins.
Second Period, 10:21, Bruins 3-1: This is a very important stretch for the Bruins to weather the storm Montreal is throwing at them after getting on the board and getting the crowd back into the game. Boston can’t afford to let the Habs cut into this lead any further.
Second Period, 7:03, Bruins 3-1: In what could be a huge turning point in this game, the Habs get on the board as Andrei Kostitsyn dekes around Chara and slips a backhander through Thomas’ pads.
That came just 18 seconds after Lucic stole the puck from P.K. Subban and went in on a breakaway, only to be denied by Price.
Second Period, 5:04, Bruins 3-0: The Bruins again can’t generate any serious threats on the power play, but might have a chance to go back on the attack now that the sides are back at even strength.
Second Period, 3:04, Bruins 3-0: The Bruins go right back on the power play, as this time it’s the Habs called for too many men on the ice.
Second Period, 2:02, Bruins 3-0: The Bruins can’t get much going on the power play, but Rich Peverley scores just after it expires.
Price’s clear hits Mark Recchi, then is intercepted by Peverley, who pops it into the open net.
Second Period, 0:00, Bruins 2-0: The middle frame is under way here at the Bell Centre, with the Bruins opening the period on the power play.
First Intermission Notes: The Bruins couldn’t have asked for much more in the first. They weathered Montreal’s early push, even after taking a too many men on the ice penalty on their first line change.
They then jumped out to a quick lead just after that penalty expired, and added another for a little bit of breathing room. Both goals came from the top line, with David Krejci and Nathan Horton each finally breaking out of their scoring slumps after slow starts to the postseason.
Zdeno Chara has shown no ill effects of the dehydration that sidelined him in Game 2. He leads all Bruins in ice time at 9:21, is a plus-2 and has an assist, a hit and a blocked shot.
The key now is not letting up on the pressure, as the Habs are capable of getting back in this one in a hurry. The Bruins begin the second period with 1:57 left on the power play, which should help them maintain the momentum they built in the first period.
End First Period, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins get the kind of period they’ve needed all season, jumping out to a quick lead and taking the crowd out of the game somewhat. Now it’s just a matter of maintaining this level of play for another 40 minutes.
First Period, 19:56, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins will get another power play as Benoit Pouliot is called for charging after taking a late run at Johnny Boychuk.
Andrew Ference takes exception and drops the gloves with the bigger Pouliot, but Ference fares well despite the size difference and Pouliot wearing a visor. No extra penalties come out of the fight, so the Bruins still get the power play heading into the second period.
First Period, 17:59, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins are doing a much better job of containing the Habs’ speed in this game, but Montreal’s explosiveness still makes this seem like a very tenuous lead.
First Period, 14:38, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins get another one, as Nathan Horton banks in a shot from behind the goal line at the left post.
Horton hit it off of Carey Price’s back and it just made it over the goal line. After a video view, the goal stands. Chara and McQuaid get the assists.
First Period, 14:12, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins kill off that short power play, with Kelly returning to play on the PK.
First Period, 12:12, Bruins 1-0: That power play doesn’t last long, as Bergeron is now called for interference as well. It will be 4 on 4 for 1:10, then a brief Montreal power play.
First Period, 11:21, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins get their first power play as Scott Gomez goes off for interference after a dirty shove from behind that sent Chris Kelly face-first into the post. Kelly was shaken up on the play.
First Period, 10:52, Bruins 1-0: The hitting is really picking up now, with both sides throwing their weight around. Tomas Plekanec leveled Horton to the delight of the home crowd, but Seidenberg cleared the crease with authority after a Thomas tie-up.
First Period, 9:27, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins kill off that penalty, with Chara having the best scoring chance shorthanded when he fired a one-timer from Rich Peverley wide of the net.
First Period, 8:16, Bruins 1-0: James Wisniewski is cut on the face after a collision with Chara, but much to the dismay of the Bell Centre crowd, no call is forthcoming on the Bruins captain.
First Period, 7:27, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins will be shorthanded again, as Krejci is called for hooking. That followed a couple of golden opportunities to extend the lead, first with Greg Campbell stoned at the top of the crease, then later with Nathan Horton and Krejci each having chances in front.
First Period, 5:42, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins got the quick goal they needed, but still are looking a bit shaky. In addition to the too many men penalty, Thomas continues to give up rebounds and Kaberle just committed a bad icing.
First Period, 3:11, Bruins 1-0: Just three seconds after the bench minor expired, the Bruins finally strike for their first lead of the series.
Patrice Bergeron sets up David Krejci with a pass out from the right corner, and Krejci buries the one-timer from the slot for the 1-0 lead.
First Period, 1:08, 0-0: Not the start the Bruins were looking for, as they are called for too many men on their first line change. Chara came on the ice to thunderous boos, and that deafening noise may have contributed to the confusion.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: And we’re under way here at the Bell Centre, with the Bergeron line and Ference and Boychuk starting for the Bruins against the Gomez line and Roman Hamrlik and James Wisniewski.
7:35 p.m.: Zdeno Chara is officially back in the lineup for the Bruins. Tyler Seguin and Shane Hnidy officially the scratches.
ANdri Kostitsyn returns for Montreal. Jeff Halpern remains out, along with Paul Mara, Yannick Weber and Alexandre Picard.
7:30 p.m.: Impressive pre-game ceremony with youth player in Habs uniform skating the torch to center ice. When he touched the faceoff dot with the torch, projected flame spread across the rest of the ice surface as the crowd erupted in thunderous applause.
Give the Habs credit for one thing, they certainly know how to put on a show.
7:25 p.m.: The Bell Centre just displayed all the Canadiens’ playoff series victories over the Bruins with projections onto the ice surface. Sadly, the display took quite a while to finish.
7:15 p.m.: The Bruins did tweak the defense pairs in the pre-game drills. Zdeno Chara skated with Dennis Seidenberg instead of Johnny Boychuk, who was dropped to the third pairing with Andrew Ference. Tomas Kaberle and Adam McQuaid are now together as well.
Shane Hnidy was on the ice for warm-ups as well, but did not skate in the line drills. Assuming Chara is cleared to play, Hnidy will be back out of the lineup.
7:10 p.m.: Based on pre-game warm-ups, it appears the forward lines will be the same for this one as they have been for Games 1 and 2.
Here are the line combinations from the pre-game drills:
Tyler Seguin skated in warm-ups once again, but did not skate in the line drills. Barring a last-minute change, he appears to be the odd man out again.
7 p.m.: Tim Thomas and Carey Price lead thir respective teams onto the ice for warm-ups. It will be the same goalie matchup for Game 3 as it has been in the first two games.
Zdeno Chara followed Thomas onto the ice for the Bruins. Chara also took warm-ups on Saturday though, but hopefully he’ll feel better this time around and be good to go in Game 3.
6:45 p.m.: The fans have started to filter into the Bell Centre from the wild scene outside as fans fill the streets around the arena.
Things are relatively quiet now inside the Bell Centre. But that will chance soon enough. No building in the NHL comes close to matching the noise that a full house in Montreal can make.
Being in Montreal for a playoff game, especially one against the Bruins, is one of things that every sports fans should check off their bucket list. It’s an amazing atmosphere unmatched anywhere in North America, but it’s also another challenge facing the Bruins as they try to overcome the home-ice advantage that crowd gives the Canadiens.
6:30 p.m.: It’s been an eventful day in Montreal, and there’s still an hour to go before game time.
The good news for the Bruins was that Zdeno Chara participated in the morning skate here at the Bell Centre. Claude Julien wouldn’t go as far as declaring the captain would definitely be in the lineup after missing Game 2 with dehydration, but did say it was “looking good.”
Also at the skate, Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice, usually the indication of who will be starting. Tyler Seguin skated with “Black Aces” Jordan Caron and Jamie Arniel in the morning skate. It’s possible Julien will make a late switch and change the lineup, but the morning skate indicated it will likely be the same lineup for the Bruins with the exception of Chara’s probable return.
The Canadiens will make game-time decisions on injured forwards Andrei Kostitsyn and Jeff Halpern.
8 a.m.: The Bruins face a pivotal test on Monday. Another loss pushes them to the brink of elimination in their opening-round series with the Canadiens.
But a win in Montreal puts the Bruins right back in the series.
Getting that victory won’t be easy though. The Bruins scored just one goal in the first two games, while a series of defensive breakdowns led to far too many easy goals for the Canadiens, who stunned the Northeast Division champs with a 2-0 victory in Game 1 and a 3-1 triumph in Game 2, both on TD Garden ice.
“I know we have to play better and it’s pretty obvious that we’re a better team than we’ve shown,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said before the team headed north on Sunday. “It doesn’t matter how many things look good on paper and everything else. It doesn’t matter at this stage of the year. It’s not about the numbers. It’s not about the number of shots. It’s not about the number of faceoffs we’ve won. At the end of the day it’s the outcome of the game that matters. And that’s what we have to focus on, making sure that the outcome is in our favor.”
While trying to get back in the series on the road, especially in as inhospitable a venue as the Bell Centre, is a daunting task, the Bruins have actually performed better away from home throughout the season. Boston was 24-12-5 on the road during the regular season, and will need to continue that road success to make a series out of this latest postseason clash with the Habs.
“That’s hopefully something that can help us get back in the series and that’s going to be up to us to have that same approach as we’ve had most of the year on the road,” Julien said. “We’ve been a good road team. We’ve done the little things better, and for some reason on the road you seem to want to keep your game a little simpler than you do at home. And that’s something that’s going to have to happen. Keep it simple, but keep it efficient and maybe if we do that we’ll make less mistakes.”
Winning on the road is one thing. Winning in Montreal is something else entirely. The Bruins were 0-2-1 there this season and 21-63 all-time in playoff games in Montreal. It’s no wonder the Bruins are embracing the underdog role even though they technically remain the higher seed.
“Yeah, definitely,” forward Milan Lucic said. “I mean especially going into Montreal. We haven’t won there this year. It’s the only building we haven’t won in. We have been a really good road team this year, but we’re definitely the underdogs for the rest of the series. But we’re not thinking about that at all. We’re just thinking about what we need to do to get ourselves back in the series.”
Getting captain Zdeno Chara back would be a big help in that quest. Chara missed Game 2 on Saturday after being hospitalized for dehydration on Friday night. His status for Game 3 is still uncertain, but he did travel with the team on Sunday.
The puck drops at 7:30 p.m., so check back here throughout the day for updates on all the action live from the Bell Centre.