If every game of the Bruins and Canadiens Eastern Conference Semifinal has as much action as Game 1, then fans could be in for a wild ride.
In what was a classic first game, the Bruins fell in double overtime as P.K. Subban scored a power play goal to give the Habs a 1-0 series lead.
Carey Price was otherworldly in the contenst, stopping 48 of the Bruins’ 51 shots, while Tuukka Rask allowed as many goals as he did through the first four games of the B’s series against the Red Wings.
The Bruins and Canadiens began the game by testing the waters: no one did anything too risky, just felt out the beginning of the contest, and with 6:00 gone the shots were just 3-3. The Bruins picked up their game over the next few minutes, with Jarome Iginla nearing redirecting a shot past Carey Price, but the score remained 0-0 midway through the period.
Many have questioned whether Montreal makes their living embellishing penalties, and at the 10:05 mark it certainly looked like Dale Weise went down pretty easily when Matt Bartkowski’s stick got in the vicinity of his body, but nevertheless, the Habs were given the first power play of the game.
Assisted by some strong saves by Tuukka Rask, the Bruins came within 18 seconds of a successful kill, but P.K. Subban ripped a shot from the blue line that got by Rask and gave the Habs the 1-0 lead.
Torey Krug had a phenomenal chance to tie the game, holding the puck in front of Price and waiting for him to go down, but the Montreal netminder didn’t bite and Krug’s shot was to no avail. The horn sounded on the first period with the Canadiens holding their 1-0 lead, with the Bruins leading into shots 13-10.
David Krejci almost knotted the score early in the second period on a strong rush into Montreal’s zone, but couldn’t backhand the puck past Price.
A bad turnover by Torey Krug in the neutral zone led to a 2-on-1 for the Habs, and Rene Bourque wristed one through Rask for his fourth goal of the playoffs that doubled Montreal’s lead.
The Bruins played a strong possession game in the first half of the second period, but the TD Garden crowd grew restless as they felt the B’s weren’t putting enough pucks on net. As the clock ticked past halfway through regular, Montreal still led 2-0.
The crowd gave a mocking cheer to the refs with 5:44 left in the second as they called their first penalty of the game on Montreal: holding on Josh Gorges. The Bruins came out swinging in the ensuing power play, but could not solve Price, as Jarome Iginla was stoned on a great save by Price, then missed on the rebound, and Dougie Hamilton rang one off the crossbar.
The Bruins played well in the second frame, but, once again, headed to the locker room trailing, this time by two goals.
The B’s got right back in it less than three minutes into the third, as Reilly Smith snapped a wrister past Price aided by a screen from Patrice Bergeron to make it 2-1.
The crowd was buzzing as even before the Smith goal was announced, Subban was called for a penalty to the delight of the Garden Faithful. The Bruins didn’t score on the power play, but the energy they gained from Smith’s score gave them new life.
If the Garden began to rock after the first goal, it went into full pandemonium four minutes later, as Bergeron and Lucic cruised into the zone, with Lucic finding a trailing Torey Krug who launched a blast from the left faceoff circle by Price that tied the game 2-2.
Montreal called a timeout right after the score to try and settle things down and hopefully stymie the Bruins’ comeback.
The Bruins nearly grabbed their first lead of the game when Krejci took the puck below the net and found a wide open Lucic, but the puck bounced over his stick as Lucic stared down an open Montreal goal.
The Canadiens got their lead back with 7:51 to play, as the Bruins were scrambling around their net and the puck found Francis Bouillon’s stick out in front and made it 3-2 Montreal.
Just when it looked like Montreal was going to take Game 1, Johnny Boychuk unleashed a signature “Johnny Rocket” with 1:58 to play to tie the game 3-3. Neither team would score the rest of the way and Game 1 would head for overtime.
Overtime would open up 4-on-4, as Marchand and Lars Eller were each assessed minor penalties as the clock expired on the third period, Marchand for cross checking and Eller for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Both teams traded chances early in overtime, but the score remained 3-3 as play returned to 5-on-5.
The Bruins came centimeters from ending the game as Soderberg slid one directly across the Habs’ net mount, but couldn’t dance its way across the line.
Krejci nearly won it again for the Bruins as he danced in on Price, but Price was doing his best Ken Dryden impression and robbed Krejci from sending the crowd home happy.
Fatigue finally caught up to the Bruins with 27 seconds to play, as Daniel Paille tripped Brendan Gallagher going into the Bruins zone and was sent to the penalty box. The Habs couldn’t take advantage in the remaining seconds, and Game 1 headed for a second overtime period.
In the second overtime, the Bruins killed off the first penalty, but Matt Bartkowski was called a few minutes later, and P.K. Subban wasted no time scoring his second goal of the game to end Game 1 and give the Canadiens the 1-0 series lead.