Carey Price needs to answer with shutout of his own | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaCarey Price needs to answer with shutout of his own

Posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 | 11:28 AM

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Carey Price (31) is 6-2-0 with 2.29 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in eight starts for Montreal in the playoffs. (Greg M. Cooper/Reuters) Carey Price (31) is 6-2-0 with 2.29 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in eight starts for Montreal in the playoffs. (Greg M. Cooper/Reuters)

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With his 33-save shutout in Game 4 on Thursday, Boston Bruins goalkeeper Tuukka Rask has given his team new life in the second-round series that now is even at 2-2 against the Montreal Canadiens. 

Over to you, Carey Price.

By writing that, I don't mean that the 1-0 defeat in overtime on Thursday should be dropped at the skates of the Montreal Canadiens star goalkeeper. He was, as usual, his dependable self in Game 4, especially when the Boston Bruins dominated the first half of the game.

Price hardly could be faulted for not being able to locate a loose puck before Bruins call-up Matt Fraser of Red Deer, Alta., swiped in a backhand early in OT. But Price may have to pitch a shutout in Game 5 back in the hostile territory known as TD Garden, just like his Bruins counterpart Tuukka Rask did to tie the second-round series at 2-2.

In the first three games of the series, the Bruins were not their usual stingy selves. They had difficulty dealing with the Canadiens speed. They yielded way too many odd-man rushes and breakaways, including three breakaways in Game 3 on Tuesday.

Rask, who entered Game 4 with a sub-par .894 save percentage (76 saves on 86 shots), took it upon himself to push his teammates back into the series with a 33-save effort for his fifth career NHL post-season shutout.

"I don't think Tuukka has a confidence problem," Boston head coach Claude Julien said. "He's not a guy that gets discouraged easily.

"It's the opposite. He has a lot of character. Instead of getting discouraged, he concentrates and he rebounds like he did tonight.

"He was good. He was poised. We didn't give up three breakaways, so that helped."

Canadiens captain Brian Gionta did get behind the Bruins for a breakaway late in the second period, but Rask stopped Gionta's backhand to keep it scoreless entering the final 20 minutes of regulation.

That wasn't the case in Game 3, when Montreal defenceman P.K. Subban and fourth-liner Dale Weise scored breakaway goals and, as a result, the Canadiens had a lead entering the third period for the third game in a row.

'Nervous at times'

Sure, the Bruins have exhibited in the regular season and again in the playoffs that they are the best third-period club in the league. But you can't play from behind that much. It's eventually going to catch up with you -- which it did in Game 3, when the Canadiens got stronger in the third period to finish off their opponent.

Sometimes a goalkeeper simply has to step up to give his teammates new life. That's what Rask did on Thursday.

"I think the guys were relieved," he said, "relieved and really happy to get that win because it wasn't easy. It hasn't been easy. We really needed this win, we knew that.

"Montreal played a good game. We never really took it to them as we'd like. It seemed like we were a little nervous at times, squeezing our sticks and not really playing our game.

"Now, hopefully, this turns things around for us. It's a funny thing how you always talk about staying positive and not squeezing your sticks, but the more you talk about not squeezing your sticks, sometimes it goes the other way. It looked like that was the case sometimes.

'Not really playoff intensity' 

"Hopefully, things turn around now," Rask continued. "The past couple of games have been kind of weird. There was a kind of weird flow in the game, not really playoff intensity.

"We didn't give them a lot. We didn't manage the puck at times there. I think we were playing on the outside a bit -- perimeter hockey."

One of the main storylines entering this series between the storied rivals was Rask versus Price. Both won their final games on the last day of the Sochi Olympics with a shutout -- Price in the gold-medal match against Sweden, Rask in the bronze-medal game against the United States.

With the Bruins gaining some life in this series, it may be up to Price to pitch another shutout in Game 5 on Saturday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 6:30 p.m. ET), especially with some of Montreal's top offensive talents like Max Pacioretty struggling.

Follow Tim Wharnsby on Twitter @WharnsbyCBC

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