Matt Fraser, who was called up by the Bruins from their Providence farm team, broke a goaltender’s duel at 1:19 of the first overtime and Boston edged the Canadiens 1-0 in the fourth game of the Eastern Conference Semi-final series. With the win, the series is tied and Boston regains home ice advantage heading back to Boston for Game Five Saturday night. The Bruins outshot the Canadiens 35-33. The game’s three stars were Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask, Carey Price and Fraser.
Adding It Up –
The Game Winner – It was all but guaranteed in a game like this one that it would be decided on a fluke. Carl Soderberg’s shot hit the glass behind Carey Price and bounded back to the front of the net to the right of Price as he was looking over his left shoulder. The Canadiens defense couldn’t knock it away and Fraser was able to slide it into the open side. Game over.
A Better Fate – After two closely played periods in which Boston had a 25-19 shots advantage, the Canadiens took over the game in the third period. At one point, just past the midway point of the period, the Canadiens were outshooting them 12-3 but couldn’t get anything by Rask. And the Bruins had a chance to clinch this in regulation time when Reilly Smith rang one off the cross-bar while Alexei Emelin was sitting in the penalty box. It was the sixth time in the series the Bruins had struck iron behind Price. Final third period shot count was 14-7 but still 0-0.
Historically Speaking – This was the 10th time a Boston/Montreal playoff game ended 1-0 and the first time since April 15th, 2008 when the Canadiens won game four in a seven game series win over Boston. But you have to go back to 1953 to find the last 1-0 overtime game, also won by the Habs on a goal by Elmer Lach.
Had Their Chances – In the second period Rene Bourque had the Canadiens best opportunity when he wheeled around Boychuk went across the goalmouth but missed the open side of the net. Five minutes later Lars Eller sent Brian Gionta in alone but Rask stopped his high backhand shot.
In A Fog – …..Whither Max Pacioretty. He now has played in 12 career playoff games and has one goal to show for it. In this game he completely disappeared after his head was driven into the glass by Jarome Iginla in the game’s 7th minute. Suspicion is he suffered a concussion but never left the bench nor missed a shift but he became a stick checker the rest of the night. He wound up with one shot on goal. He was in a slump in any case. This won’t help.
Also Worth Mentioning – ….I loved Michael Bournival in this game. Playing with Plekanec and Vanek, his speed and work ethic put him in position for four shots on goal. Three of them were solid scoring chances from the slot. he had four shots on goal. ….As good as Bournival was, Thomas Vanek wasn’t. He’s always dangerous, but maximum effort wasn’t there as evidenced by the fact that he did not even attempt a shot in the game. My suspicion is, he’s better off on the Desharnais line. …..Douglas Murray was a difference maker again. Six hits in just under 14 minutes of ice time, including a thunderous first period check on Shawn Thornton. He also blocked four shots. ….P.K. Subban was good, but not brilliant in this game. ……Leaders off the scoresheet – Shots on Goal -Gionta (5); Bournival (4). Hits – Murray (6); Blocked Shots – Emelin (6). Faceoffs – Desharnais – won 14 of 19 (74%).
Moving On – It now becomes a best of three series with the Bruins again holding home ice advantage. The Canadiens are in Boston Saturday, then back home to play the Bruins at the Bell Centre Monday. So far each team is 1 and 1 at home.