Subban, Habs shoot for 2-0 lead in Boston
(SportsNetwork.com) - P.K. Subban and the Montreal Canadiens will try to grab a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals, when they visit the rival Boston Bruins for Saturday's clash at TD Garden.
The underdog Canadiens grabbed the first game of this best-of-seven set in Boston, notching a 4-3 double-overtime victory on Thursday. Subban scored two goals for Montreal, including the game-winner at 4:17 of the second OT.
Subban, last season's Norris Trophy winner as the league's top defenseman, scored both of his goals on the power play to help the Habs take the early series lead over this season's Presidents' Trophy winners.
After Montreal failed to convert a power play that spanned the end of the first OT and the beginning of the second, Subban ensured his team cashed in when Boston's Matt Bartkowski was called for holding at 4:10 of the second extra period.
Montreal won the faceoff at the left circle and Andrei Markov eventually got the puck to Subban in the high slot. The defenseman fired a slap shot through traffic and the puck knocked a water bottle into the air as it hit the back of the net.
"We did a good job of moving the puck and getting people open," said Subban. "They're a good team on the penalty kill, our forwards did a good job of winning battles and getting the puck back to the point. That was the difference."
Thursday's game marked the 38th time the clubs went to OT in the postseason. The Canadiens now hold a 23-15 record in those games.
The Bruins outshot the Canadiens 51-33 in the game and although the club needs to improve its penalty killing in Game 2, Boston head coach Claude Julien made it clear that his team wasn't going to overreact to Thursday's loss.
"There's no panic here. It's game number one here," Julien reiterated. "So, obviously, P.K. Subban's got a good shot from the point and we've got to do a better job of fronting him, but our penalty kill's been through a lot this year and we still have confidence in it."
Montreal finished 2-for-3 with the man advantage, while the Bruins failed to score on two power-play chances.
Rene Bourque had a goal and an assist and Francis Bouillon also scored for the Canadiens, who cruised past the Tampa Bay Lightning in the quarterfinals with a four-game sweep.
Carey Price, who posted a 2.33 goals against average and .904 save percentage in the opening round, stopped 48 shots in the Game 1 victory.
"It was a hard-fought game and it could have gone either way," said Price. "I don't want to point out individual things that I or anyone else did, it was a full team effort."
Tuukka Rask gave up the four goals on 33 shots for Boston. The Vezina Trophy finalist came into this series leading all playoff goaltenders with a 1.16 GAA and .961 save percentage after helping anchor Boston's five-game defeat of Detroit in the first round, .
"I think as a team we deserved to win, but from a goalie's standpoint Price played a lot better than I did," said Rask.
Reilly Smith, Torey Krug and Johnny Boychuk all scored in the loss for Boston, which has the top overall seed in the playoffs after posting the NHL's best regular-season record.
Boston, the defending conference champions, also lost Game 1 in its first- round series against Detroit, but won the next four games to set up this matchup with the Habs.
No strangers in postseason play, these two squads are meeting in the playoffs for a 34th time, with the Bruins having taken six of the last nine series. The last postseason meeting between these two teams came in 2011, when the Bruins dispatched the Canadiens in seven games in the quarterfinals. Later that postseason, Boston won its first Stanley Cup since 1972.
The Canadiens, however, have won five straight in Boston and have claimed seven of the past eight meetings overall.
Game 3 of this series is scheduled for Tuesday night in Montreal.
05/03 10:39:09 ET