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Bruins stage late rally to beat Canadiens, even series
Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Facing the prospect of a two-game hole in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Boston Bruins sent everything they could at Carey Price.
One shot knuckled into the ice and skipped past the Montreal Canadiens goalie to tie the game. Barely two minutes later, Price couldn't get all the way over to stop Reilly Smith.
Another NHL playoff game, another blown two-goal lead.
Smith scored the go-ahead marker during a four-goal flurry to end the third period as Boston came back to beat Montreal 5-3 in Game 2 on Saturday, evening the series.
The Bruins rebounded from Thursday's Game 1 loss, when P.K. Subban scored on a Montreal power play 4:17 into the second overtime, and they rallied from a 3-1 deficit in this one with 13 1/2 minutes to play.
"We've been a strong third period team the entire year," said Smith. "We started getting bounces. ... It ended up working out great, but it's tough when you're relying on the third period to come back."
After Thomas Vanek scored his second goal of the game for Montreal -- both on deflections from Subban -- Dougie Hamilton beat Price with a high wrist shot from the point at 10:56 of the third off a pass from Brad Marchand.
Just over three minutes later, Patrice Bergeron picked a loose puck off the wall, and his harmless shot from the right boards looked like it had little chance of going into until it took that funky hop next to defenseman Francis Bouillon and several feet in front of Price, going in over his shoulder.
Smith's winner with 3:32 left came after a cross-ice pass from Torey Krug was tipped by Brendan Gallagher, slowing it down before it reached Smith in the right circle for his near-side wrist shot.
"They poured it on at the end of the game," said Price. "I thought they got pretty lucky. They were playing desperate ... and they found a way to put it in the net."
Milan Lucic added an empty-netter and Daniel Paille scored earlier for the Bruins, who escaped with a win at home before traveling to Montreal for Game 3 on Tuesday.
Tuukka Rask made 25 saves for the Bruins, who also lost Game 1 to Detroit in the first round, then won the next four to advance for the fifth time in six years.
Mike Weaver had a goal for Montreal and Price gave up four on 34 shots. He had 25 saves on 26 shots in the first two periods.
"I thought we put ourselves in a position where we thought we could take the win," said Subban. "But it's very tough to go into an opponent's building and steal two games in the playoffs. It's not an easy thing to do. And unless you play a full 60 (minutes) you're not going to be able to do it. We didn't play a full 60 today."
Montreal killed off a 5-on-3 in the first period but Boston took a 1-0 lead later on Paille's goal from the slot at 13:02 off a pass from Carl Soderberg, who got the puck in the right corner after Andrej Meszaros had fired it off the end boards.
Weaver's shot from the right circle made it through traffic and past Rask 1:09 into the second period to tie the score for the Habs.
Not long after Boston had a goal disallowed -- Milan Lucic batted the puck in with his left glove -- Subban knocked down an attempted clear by Zdeno Chara on a Montreal power play and Vanek tipped Subban's try past Rask to make it 2-1 Canadiens with 1:51 left in the second period.
Vanek was in front for another deflection off Subban's blast from the point 6 1/2 minutes into the third period, sending it high over Rask's shoulder for a 3-1 Montreal lead.
Rask beat Montreal for the first time in Boston (1-6-3) ... Marchand had two assists ... Chara boasted a game-best plus-5 rating in almost 27 minutes of ice time ... Boston was 0-for-3 on the power play and Montreal scored twice on six chances ... The teams are meeting in the playoffs for the 34th time. The Canadiens are 24-9 in the previous 33 series, but the Bruins have won the last two (2008, 2011).
05/03 18:08:30 ET