Canadiens cannot contain Bruins in Game 3
With luminaries like Serge, Denis, and even Andre, the Savard surname has always been more synonomous with the Montreal Canadiens than the Boston Bruins. But that all changed Sunday night.
Marc Savard scored 9:25 into overtime as the Bruins prevailed 2-1 over the visiting Canadiens in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarter-final in front of 17,565 frenzied fans at the TD Banknorth Garden on Sunday night.
As Montreal struggled to regain possession of the puck on a delayed penalty, Savard jumped off the Bruin bench in time to bury Dennis Wideman's backhand pass from the faceoff circle for the decisive goal.
"I came on as the extra skater," Savard said. "When Wideman picked it off, I yelled at the top of my lungs and, luckily, he saw me."
It marked Savard's first-ever playoff goal and the first playoff win for Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, who retrieved the puck.
"I'm going to give it to Marc Savard," Thomas told CBC Sports.
"It was his first playoff goal, and it could not have come at a better time. I will keep the next one."
Savard led the Bruins with one goal and one assist, setting up Milan Lucic for the opening goal.
Asked what the team's mindset was heading into OT, Thomas replied: "Play to win, don't sit back [because] If we don't play to win, we shouldn't even be here. We wanted to try to take it to them."
Boston, loser of 13 straight meetings with Montreal dating back to last season, trails 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Game 4 goes Tuesday at the Garden (CBC, 7 p.m. ET).
"We got the monkey off our back," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. "The game was a lot like last night's, but this time Lady Luck was smiling upon us."
Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau could almost see it coming. "I knew, at one point, they were going to beat us," he said.
Tom Kostopoulos tallied 4:26 into the second period for the top-ranked Canadiens, who prevailed in 4-1 in Game 1 and 3-2 on Alex Kovalev's overtime winner in Game 2.
Rookie netminder Carey Price made 29 saves for Montreal, while Thomas posted 27 stops.
"We tried to build on an excellent game [Saturday] night," Thomas said. "We have a lot of guys laying it on the line."
First playoff goal for Lucic
Lucic staked Boston to its first lead of the series 6:30 into the contest, settling Savard's hard pass into the slot before ripping the puck by Price for his first-ever playoff goal.
But early in the second period, Canadiens forward Steve Begin bumped Wideman off the puck behind the Boston net and Kostopoulos tapped his own rebound past a sprawled Thomas from his knees to tie it 1-1.
The Bruins had a couple of good chances to pull ahead 9:14 into the third period, but Price smothered rookie David Krejci's quick shot on a 2-on-1 break that resulted in a roughing penalty to rookie Sergei Kostitsyn.
He stood firm on the ensuing power play, snaring Wideman's slapshot in spectacular fashion and stacking the pads on Marco Sturm's wraparound attempt.
Thomas proved equally stingy at the other end, dropping to his knees to stop a quick shot from Tomas Plekanec with less than five minutes left in regulation.
The Canadiens had the better scoring chances early in OT, with Kostopoulos and Begin testing Thomas from the slot and Patrice Brisebois trying to beat him on a slapshot from the point.
"We had a couple of really good chances in overtime," Carbonneau said. "But Thomas played big."
Montreal's vaunted power play, which scored at a 24.1 per cent clip during the regular season, went 0-4 and is 1-for-17 in the series.
With files from the Canadian Press