(Photo Credit: Francois Lacasse)

By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff

Down 0-2 in the series to Montreal, Boston looked to climb out of a hole they got themselves into to seal a victory at the Bell Centre. It would not be an easy task; however, Montreal was not in the clear. Montreal found themselves in this spot for the second time. In 2006 in a series against Carolina, Montreal won both games on the road, but Carolina came back and won the series. The same thing happened in 1996 to Montreal when they faced the New York Rangers.

Montreal won the first two games on the road, then New York won the next four and won the series. While that gave a little hope to Boston fans, the fact that Boston was 0-26 in series when they were down 0-2 did not. Claude Julien would stick with Tim Thomas in the net, even though he received negative comments from losing the first two games. Montreal would keep Carey Price in the net. Healthy scratches for Boston were Tyler Seguin and Matt Bartkowski. Montreal would be without Paul Mara, Jeff Halpern, Alexandre Picard, and Yannick Weber.  

Bruins Start Off Hot

The game was on, and Boston looked to come out hot. That was not the case, and an early mistake led to an early Montreal powerplay. Just 1:08 into the period, Boston was called for too many men on the ice, and Lucic would go to the box. After a couple of crucial Tim Thomas saves, Boston was able to kill off the penalty. Just as the powerplay for Montreal was ending, Patrice Bergeron found a streaking David Krejci at the left circle, and Krejci gave Boston the early 1-0 lead. Four minutes later, though, Krejci was getting called for hooking, and Montreal had a powerplay chance to tie the game. Boston did another fantastic job killing off the penalty, and it was back to even strength. 

Shortly after the halfway mark, Boston would get their first powerplay opportunity. Scott Gomez was called for interference, and Boston looked to make it 2-0. Boston’s powerplay didn’t last long, as Patrice Bergeron was called for interference, and now it was going to be 4-on-4, then a short Montreal powerplay would come after. Another successful Bruins penalty kill would soon be followed by a Nathan Horton goal to make it 2-0. At 14:38 of the first, Nathan Horton would bury a juicy rebound off Carey Price.

The Montreal crowd was silent, and the Bruins were buzzing. It was Nathan Horton’s first career playoff goal, and Montreal coach Jacques Martin called a timeout. As the first period dwindled to its final seconds, a high hit from Ben Pouliot on Johnny Boychuk led to Andrew Ference dropping the gloves with Ben Pouliot, or what Jack Edwards was quoted saying “one of NHL’s biggest disappointments.” At first, the refs made what looked to be a bias call on not calling a charging penalty, but after review, the Bruins would start the second period with a powerplay.  

Montreal Crawls Back

The second period was underway, and Boston resumed its powerplay. The Bruin’s powerplay struggles continued, and it was back to even strength. However, just as the powerplay was ending, a bad pass from Carey Price found Rich Peverly, and Peverly was able to net it. The Bruins were now up 3-0 and had full control of the game. Shortly after, Montreal was called for too many men on the ice, and Boston looked to make it 4-0. Another failed powerplay opportunity resulted for Boston, and again it was back to even strength. 

At the 12:57 mark of the second, Andrei Kostitsyn finally put Montreal on the board. Kostitsyn was able to skate past Chara and go five-hole on Tim Thomas. The Montreal crowd was on their feet and loud again; that was the last thing the Bruins wanted. With a little over two minutes remaining in the period, Montreal got another powerplay opportunity and looked to make it just a one-goal deficit. The fabulous Bruins penalty kill excelled again, and the second period was over. Boston took a 3-1 lead into the second intermission. The goal for Boston going into the third, hold on and don’t let Montreal get momentum.  

Bruins Hold on, Win Game 3

Third-period action was underway, and Montreal was firing shots on Thomas left and right. One of those shots would finally find the back of the net, and it was now just 3-2 Boston. Plekanec was able to spin at the left circle, fire a shot that went five-hole and go into the net. A little under 16 minutes remained in the game, and Montreal had more than enough time to tie this game. Seconds later, Montreal’s momentum was put to a halt as Kostitsyn was called for slashing, and Boston looked to end their powerplay struggles. 

Unable to convert on the powerplay again, Boston was now 0-11 on powerplays in this series. While Montreal continued putting pressure on Tim Thomas throughout the period, Thomas displayed his third-period dominance and kept Boston in the game. With just a minute left in Game 3, Boston looked to hold off Montreal’s late push. 25.6 seconds left in the game, Chris Kelly buried the empty netter and Montreal, and its fans were sent to the streets silent.  

Coming into this game, it looked like Montreal had all the momentum up 2-0 in the series, but now with Boston stunning Montreal in its own building, Boston looked to ride momentum going into Game 4. But first, Claude Julien would be taking his team to Lake Placid for a two-day getaway to refocus his team and work on their powerplay struggles. The three stars of the game were Mike Cammalleri (two assists), Andrei Kostitsyn (one goal), and Patrice Bergeron (two assists). The series would resume at the Bell Centre on April 21st.