MONTREAL — It only took 2:11 for the Bruins to dig themselves a hole.
A failed attempt at clearing the puck by Kevan Miller and Tuukka Rask (23 saves) in the first period, followed by a breakaway goal in the second, and a power play goal for good measure two minutes later, led to a 4-0 win for the Montreal Canadiens, forcing a Game 7 at TD Garden 7 on Wednesday between the Bruins and Habs.
Montreal’s Lars Eller cleaned up in front of the Bruins net, collecting the puck that both Miller and Rask had failed to clear, setting the tone for Monday’s Game 6 loss. The Habs out skated the Bruins for the next 57 minutes, winning the shots and hits battles in front of a packed crowd at Bell Centre in Montreal.
In the second period, the Bruins tried to match Montreal’s intensity, dominating play in the Canadiens’ zone. Milan Lucic was presented with the Bruins’ best opportunity, a shot from Canadiens goalie Carey Price’s right flank that he managed to sail across the crease despite an open net.
With power play opportunities in the first and second periods, the Bruins luck from Game 5 apparently didn’t carry over either, failing to capitalize on both. The Bruins appeared gassed after Montreal kicked up the tempo a notch, particularly in the second. Nathan Beaulieu dished a long pass through the neutral zone to Max Pacioretty, who out skated Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara to get off a shot on Rask, beating the Bruins goalie, as the Habs went up 2-0. Just two minutes later, after a Gregory Campbell penalty for high sticking, Thomas Vanek collected a rebound to score the Canadiens’ third goal of the game. Montreal went 1 for 4 on their power play opportunities. The Bruins finished 0 for 3.
In the third period, a shot by Chara went up over Canadiens goalie Carey Price’s shoulder and almost crossed the goal line in the crease. But after a review, which showed the puck dancing across the red line, it was ruled no goal. Price had 26 saves and there was no miraculous third period comeback for the Bruins this time around.
Vanek added a second goal, this one an empty netter with 3:56 left for the Canadiens’ final score. It was Vanek’s fourth goal of the series.