Canadiens stay alive with 4-0 win over Bruins
Montreal Canadiens' Max Pacioretty, centre, celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins with teammates Brendan Gallagher, left, and David Desharnais during second period NHL playoff hockey action on Monday, May 12, 2014 in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, May 12, 2014 7:20PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 13, 2014 8:04AM EDT
MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty broke out of a scoring slump with a goal and an assist in the second period and Carey Price made 26 saves as the Montreal Canadiens downed the Boston Bruins 4-0 to force a seventh game in their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Monday night.
The series is tied 3-3 going into Game 7 on Wednesday night in Boston.
Pacioretty, who had only one assist in the first five games, scored and set up Thomas Vanek's goal in the second period. Lars Eller scored in the first for Montreal and Vanek added his second of the game into an empty net with 3:56 left in regulation time.
Rookie Nathan Beaulieu, the Canadiens' 2011 first-round draft pick who was given a surprise start by coach Michel Therrien, picked up an assist in his first NHL playoff game and was plus-2.
The Canadiens repeated the scenario of their 2011 first-round series against the Bruins, winning at home to force a Game 7. That year, they lost the decisive game in overtime.
Montreal busted out of the gate after a rousing pre-game show and the teams played at a ferocious pace through the first two periods.
Despite having the best of the play in the opening 20 minutes, the Canadiens needed a freak play for the only goal.
Kevan Miller lost the puck off his stick behind the Boston net and then inadvertently tripped goalie Tuukka Rask as he tried to smother it, leaving Eller free to score unassisted 2:11 into the game.
The second frame was marked by a remarkable 5:11 stretch without a whistle in which the Bruins bottled the Canadiens in their end for minutes at a time, only to see Milan Lucic botch their best scoring chance from the edge of the crease.
Soon after, Beaulieu flipped the puck up the centre of the ice and saw it go off Loui Eriksson to Pacioretty, who won a race with Zdeno Chara and beat Rask between the pads at 15:24.
Pacioretty kept a puck alive with his feet amid a crowd in front of Rask during a power play and saw the puck slide to Vanek for a shot into an open side at 17:39.
The Bruins came close at 11:05 of the third when a Chara shot went off Price and dropped behind him, but with Jarome Iglina digging in the crease David Desharnais was on his knees to stop the puck with his stick just as it had almost crossed the goal-line. The no-goal call stood up to video review.
Notes: Beaulieu replaced Douglas Murray on Montreal's third defence pair and Daniel Briere returned to the lineup for Travis Moen. . . Eller scored during Beaulieu's first career NHL playoff shift, making him plus-1 only 2:11 into the game. . . Boston made no changes. . . Shawn Thornton played his 100th career playoff game.