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CANADIENS 3, BRUINS 2

An OT killer, Canadien style

They say they're not worried. At least not yet.

But the roller-coaster ride continues for the Bruins. They've been up and down, then down and up.

The latest dip came last night when they gave up a goal with 1:00 left in overtime, losing to the Montreal Canadiens at the FleetCenter, 3-2.

It was defenseman Craig Rivet's goal four minutes into the extra session that extended Boston's winless streak to four games (0-1-2-1).

"We're picking up points and that's a good sign," said Bruins captain Joe Thornton. "It's all ups and downs. As long as we're peaking for the playoffs, that's all that really matters. We've played well the last 30 games, so we're not worried about these hiccups."

It was the 24th time the club has gone to overtime, the third time in four contests. The Bruins outshot the Habs, 39-26, but couldn't convert enough of that offense against goalie Jose Theodore.

"It was an all right-played game," said hard-luck loser Andrew Raycroft (23 saves). "Giving these points away is a little frustrating, but we got a point and that's the positive. It's coming down to the end of the season and those [close] games in the playoffs we need to win. We'll be all right but it's a little frustrating right now. It hasn't been bad play but it hasn't been outstanding play, either. But we'll clean it up, we'll be all right."

The Canadiens struck first at 10:26 of the opening period. Defenseman Andrei Markov drove down the left-wing boards and spotted forward Yanic Perreault going to the net. Markov threw the puck into the slot, which went right by Bruin Craig MacDonald, and Perreault one-timed a shot past Raycroft for his 10th goal of the season.

The Bruins pulled even on Marty Lapointe's 11th goal of the season, scored on the power play. With Darren Langdon off for roughing at 13:56, caused when Doug Doull wouldn't be goaded into a fight, Brian Rolston took a pass from Nick Boynton at center ice and raced up the left side. He split Andreas Dackell and Patrice Brisebois in the left circle and fired on net. Theodore kicked out a rebound, which Lapointe gladly accepted and rapped back into the net at 15:34. That strike ended Boston's scoring drought at 152 minutes 52 seconds.

"Dougie has done a real good job," said Bruins coach Mike Sullivan. "He's a warrior of a guy and he really lays it on the line for his teammates. He plays hard and he's playing smart and I think that's what makes him so effective."

The Canadiens took the lead again with just 46.6 ticks left in the period as a result of an elbowing penalty at 18:39 on defenseman Dan McGillis, which the Bruins loudly protested.

"I thought it was a good hit," said Sullivan. "It was a body check. But the referee saw it differently."

Montreal's leading scorer, Mike Ribeiro, had the puck in the right circle and backhanded a drop pass to rookie right wing Michael Ryder in the slot. Ryder drilled a shot past Raycroft to make it 2-1.

Travis Green pulled his club even once again at the 38-second mark of the second. Boynton teed up a slapper from the right point that Green attempted to tip from the slot. It hit defenseman Stephane Quintal, who was battling with Green in front, but Green won, backhanding a shot past Theodore for his sixth tally of the season and first since Jan. 7.

Neither team could make a dent in the third, sending the game into OT, where Saku Koivu set up Rivet. It was a disappointing end but Sullivan doesn't think his team is that far off despite the recent struggles.

"I thought tonight we played pretty well," Sullivan said. "The previous two games, we had two pretty evenly matched contests. We got a point on [Long] Island playing back to back and losing some players. Guys were playing a lot of minutes. I thought we got a hard-fought point. Against Florida, we really had an opportunity to win. We certainly got our scoring chances so we're trying to look at it objectively and say, `Are we doing the right things out there that are going to give us the best chance to be successful?' We get away from it at times. I don't think the first period was our best tonight but I don't think we were outplayed, either."

in today's globe
Bruins playoff recap
Bruins vs. Canadiens
Habs win series, 4-3
 Game 1: B's 3, Habs 0 | Gallery
 Game 2: B's 2, Habs 1 | Gallery
 Game 3: Habs 3, B's 2 | Gallery
 Game 4: B's 4, Habs 3 | Gallery
 Game 5: Habs 5, B's 1 | Gallery
 Game 6: Habs 5, B's 2 | Gallery
 Game 7: Habs 2, B's 0 | Gallery

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