NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 16th (All times eastern)
(6) Montreal Canadiens (1-0) at (3) Boston Bruins (0-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The third-seeded Boston Bruins will try to solve Carey Price and avoid falling in an 0-2 series hole when they host the Montreal Canadiens tonight for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at TD Garden.
The Bruins entered the first round as Northeast Division champions, but were dealt a shutout loss by Price and the visiting Canadiens on Thursday. Montreal, which finished seven points behind Boston in the division standings, will try to grab a two games to none lead tonight before the series shifts to Quebec for the next two meetings.
Price stopped 31 shots for the third shutout of his playoff career and Brian Gionta scored both goals for the sixth-seeded Habs in the 2-0 win at TD Garden. Scott Gomez notched the lone assist on each of Gionta's tallies.
"I thought that our top players elevated their game tonight," Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin said.
Gionta's two tallies on Thursday gives him 30 goals in his playoff career, but Montreal's captain handed a big chunk of the credit for the Game 1 win to Price.
"Carey was a huge reason we won tonight," Gionta told his club's web site. "We did a good job keeping them to the outside but we still gave them too many chances and he did a great job stopping the first and second opportunities."
Price improved to 6-11 in his playoff career with the victory. All three of his playoff shutouts have come against Boston and the previous two were in the 2008 conference quarterfinal series, which Montreal won in seven games.
Meanwhile, Vezina Trophy candidate Tim Thomas made just 18 saves for the Bruins, who are hoping to erase the memory of last year's loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in the conference semifinals. The Bruins became just the third team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 lead to lose a best-of-seven series.
This is the 33rd playoff series between these two Original Six rivals. It is the most two teams have faced off in the playoffs and Montreal has won 24 of them. However, Boston has claimed five of the previous eight series and swept the Habs in four games the last time the two clubs met in the 2009 quarterfinals.
Montreal notched the only goal it needed Thursday just 2:44 into the opening period. A pass from the left boards by Gomez slid past a teammate in front and went to the right side where Gionta was all alone to finish the play with a wrister into the net.
"I was playing the guy in front and it looked like he was the one that was going to pick it off, and by the time I realized that it got through him and over to Gionta he made a quick shot," Thomas said. "If he holds it a half second more I can get over there."
The Bruins are just 10-32 all-time when losing the first game of a best-of- seven series.
Boston's star defenseman Zdeno Chara was hospitalized for dehydration Friday night, but has not been ruled out of tonight's game. The Bruins confirmed the hospitalization Saturday, adding that Chara is being evaluated by medical staff. However, it is likely Chara will be in the lineup.
"Until our medical staff tells me he can't go, he's in tonight," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien.
Chara led all Boston defensemen in goals (14) and assists (30) during the regular season. He also had a team-best plus-33 rating while playing in 81 games.
Montreal won the regular season series this year with Boston, posting four wins in the six encounters.
Boston is 22-13-6 as the home club this season. The Canadiens, who will host Game 3 on Monday, had a 20-19-2 mark as the visiting team.
04/16 13:54:54 ET