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Bruins jump out to early lead, hang on to cut series to 2-1 in Habs favor

April 18, 2011

The Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The team who scores first has won all three games. (AP)

With nothing to lose and low expectations from fans, the Bruins went into the Bell Centre and beat the Canadiens 4-2. The Bruins jumped out early on a David Krejci goal 3:11 in and took a two-goal lead to the first intermission after a Nathan Horton goal. Montreal would come back from a three-goal hole on goals by Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec but TIm Thomas and the Bruins fought off a furious third period by the Habs to take Game 3.

Tim Thomas made 34 saves, 14 in the third period to ensure the victory.

Although many speculated that the Bruins would finally play loose because they were in an 0-2 hole, the Bruins were noticeably shaky early, getting a too many men penalty just 1:08 in. The Habs smelt blood early, circling around the Bruins net, but the Bruins survived with some full-ice clears and got on the board just after the penalty expired when Patrice Bergeron fed David Krejci for the one-timer in front for the crucial first goal. The Habs were caught in a change just as the penalty expired, allowing Bergeron to win the puck and quickly feed Krejci from the corner for the quick goal.

The Bruins would continue to get some good looks in the opening minutes, seemingly freeing up the offense and attacking the net, but Price rebounded with some big reflex saves to keep his team within striking distance early. The Bruins would soon be called for the second penalty of the game when David Krejci was called for hooking on a backcheck. The Bruins would kill off the call, this time without as many worrisome moments, by keeping the net safe throughout.

The Bruins would get their first power-play when Scott Gomez took down Chris Kelly from behind, folding him into the net after the play. The power-play would go by the wayside just 50 seconds in when Bergeron was too called for interference. The two would play back-and-forth 4-on-4 hockey before a brief Montreal power-play went by without much fanfare.

Nathan Horton appeared to score soon after when he flicked a shot off of Carey Price and in on edge. Carey Price made the pad save on the shot from the point and put it in the corner. Horton was in the right place and quickly shot it off of Price. The puck bounced off of Price and just bounced past the goal line. After a brief review the goal stood up.

Things got physical towards the end of the period when Benoit Pouliot took a run at Johnny Boychuk, leaving his feet in a check attempt after Boychuk was hit by Ryan White. The penalty was called but Andrew Ference exacted his own revenge by dropping the gloves with Pouliot.

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The Bruins took almost the entire power-play into the second period but looked pretty awful during the power-play. Montreal forced the issue with aggressive killing and speed. Rich Peverley would score just after the power-play expired however, capitalizing on a bad pass attempt by Price. Price, tried to pass from behind his net but hit Peverley, Peverley then kicked to stick and put it into the mostly open net for the third Bruins goal of the contest.

The Canadiens seemed to start to unravel after, taking a too many men call just a shift or two after the goal. The Bruins power-play did little more than whimper during their two minutes, losing the puck multiple times and failing to get set up.

Andrei Kostitsyn would get the Bruins back in the game on a nice individual effort. Kostitsyn dangled around Zdeno Chara, went backhand and beat Tim Thomas five-hole. Chara got turned inside out but Thomas should have had it pretty easily.

From here the tempo started to turn up but both teams played a good chunk of the period in the neutral zone. The Canadiens would get a power-play with just over two minutes left when Mark Recchi was called for holding in a race for a loose puck. The crowd rose with excitement, knowing that a power-play goal would be crucial. The Bruins killed it off with a good neutral zone presence and took a two-goal lead into the second intermission.

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Montreal came out determined to score quickly in the third period, attacking with reckless abandon and getting the Bruins on their heels in doing so. Thomas came up with some big saves early and held down rebounds when need be during some trying moments by the Canadiens top line.

Tomas Plekanec would cut the Bruins lead in half when he wheeled a spinorama goal past Thomas close to the goal line. Plekanec had been edged off on a rush by Chara and with little support, wheeled a shot on net. The shot never left the ice but beat a standing Thomas five-hole, the second five-hole goal of the night for the Canadiens.

The Bruins would stem momentum with a fortunate power-play called in their favor. They didn’t get much done, failing to get a good entry through most of the power-play time and fighting for puck possession for most of the power-play.

Montreal’s aggression led to a lot of puck possession but also allowed the Bruins to counterpunch with odd-man rushes. At times, the Bruins were able to slow down the Montreal attack through the neutral zone trap and finding the weak spot in the Montreal attack. Thomas would come up huge when need be, making huge scrambling saves with Canadiens scouring the net and holding on to force faceoffs.

Montreal pulled their goalie with just over a minute left and Chris Kelly would end it on a 2-on-1. Kelly fought of a trailing PK Subban and didn’t shoot until he was nearly in the net.

The Bruins now trail in the series by a 2-1 margin and will play Montreal Thursday.

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