Overtime, 18:41, 1-0 Bruins: That did not take long.
A mad scramble in front, which ensued after a wide shot, resulted in a Bruins goal. This series is tied 2-2.
And who got the goal? Matt Fraser, in his first ever NHL playof game. What a night for that kid, eh?
The puck squirted loose of Price near the right post, and Fraser caught it out of the corner of the eye and backhanded it into the net. That third line had a ton of possession in the Montreal end of the ice tonight, and it finally paid off in the form of a goal.
It’s a three-game series now. Game 5 is Saturday night at the TD Garden. We’ll see you then.
Overtime, 20:00, 0-0: As OT begins, the Habs have a slight 33-32 shot advantage, though the Bruins have 65 shot attempts, compared to Montreal’s 54.
However, none of that matters. We’re now looking at either a silky smooth setup or an ugly, gross garbage goal. Just like the last series, where Boston won in OT to take a 3-1 lead, so much hinges on this next goal. The swing that the winning team will get will be enough to completely alter this series.
End of third period, 0-0: Sixty minutes will not be enough. These two teams need overtime. Let’s all take a few minutes to breathe.
Third period, 1:21, 0-0: The back-and-forth play continues, and still no goals. The Habs just had a scramble in front of the Boston net, but the traffic was enough to break it up. It’s hard to have a more tense atmosphere than this.
Third period, 4:38, 0-0: Douglas Murray just laid the hurt on Carl Soderberg after Soderberg decided to carve a figure-8 onto the ice in the offensive zone. If you get caught by a guy who can’t skate, you’re doing something wrong, and Soderberg learned that the hard way.
Dougie Hamilton just barely avoided a delay of game penalty by flipping the puck deep onto the bench. It didn’t clear the high glass though, allowing the Bruins to change before the upcoming defensive zone faceoff.
It’s winning time now.
Third period, 8:34, 0-0: That Smith chance was the Bruins’ best of the power play, and the Habs killed off the rest of it. The Bruins are now 0-for-8 on the man advantage this series.
There’s not much time left now. The “next goal wins” proclamation now becomes almost a given. The crowd is fired up after that penalty kill, and the Canadiens likely feel pretty good about it too. But really, there’s no momentum at this point. There is only the next goal. This game’s still completely up for grabs.
Third period, 10:30, 0-0: Reilly Smith, off the crossbar. That’s the ninth or 10th post the Bruins have hit this series.
Then Gionta was left all alone in close on Rask, but Rask made the save. Gionta then got pummeled for whacking away at Rask’s pads.
Third period, 11:39, 0-0: The Bruins’ power play is getting another chance here after Alexei Emelin gets called for driving Krejci into the corner boards. Emelin hit Krejci through his back and into the boards. It wasn’t dirty, just overly aggressive. Two minutes for boarding.
Third period, 13:26, 0-0: Tension remains high, as the home crowd starts to really create a raucous atmosphere inside Bell Centre. Chants of “Tuuu-kkaaaa” have been resonating throughout the building, and you know the Habs are dying to get that puck into the net and send the place into a frenzy.
Shots are 6-2 Canadiens in the third period, which is quite the opposite of the final period of the first three games. They haven’t all been quality chances, of course, but this is certainly an improved strategy from Montreal in the third period.
Third period, 15:12, 0-0: The third period has started at 100 mph. The Canadiens had the first two chances, but the Bergeron line tilted the ice the other way. It’s a frenzied pace to start this one. This is what playoff hockey is all about.
Third period, 20:00, 0-0: The third period has begun in Montreal.
End of second period, 0-0: And they head to the rooms still tied 0-0.
Both teams had great chances in that period, the best of which being Gionta’s partial breakaway, but nothing has amounted to any goals.
The Bruins might take the approach that the third period is basically overtime, because if Montreal puts the first goal on the board, the momentum that will generate on the ice and the energy it’ll create in that building might present a mountain of a challenge. But if the Bruins can put that first goal on the board, they’ve been good enough in controlling the puck that it may just be enough on this night.
It won’t be easy, but this is why they get paid the big bucks. And it’s why we watch.
Through two periods, Carey Price has 25 saves, while Tuukka Rask has 19. Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask lead the Bruins with four shots on net and six shot attempts apiece, while Michael Bournival and Andrei Markov — not exactly the two you might have guessed — lead the Habs with three shots on net apiece.
Second period, 3:54, 0-0: Tuukka Rask got criticized for not making saves on breakaways in Game 3. Well, he just made a big one in Game 4, turning aside Brian Gionta’s backhand as Kevan Miller harassed the Habs captain from behind.
Gionta might have had a little more room than he thought, but nevertheless, Rask made a big save right there.
Second period, 6:07, 0-0: The B’s PK — and not Montreal’s P.K. — gets the job done. Penalty killed, and they play on.
Second period, 8:11, 0-0: Matt Bartkowski tackled Lars Eller behind the Boston net, and Bart heads to the box for holding. Look out for P.K. Subban.
Second period, 10:13, 0-0: Rene Bourque just went 1-on-1 on Johnny Boychuk and got inside the defenseman on his drive to the net. Boychuk just made stick check in time to break up the scoring chance, but that one was dangerous.
Second period, 10:50, 0-0: The Bruins got just there shots on the power play, which was a mostly chaotic affair, and the game remains scoreless. Ugly PP for the B’s.
Second period, 12:55, 0-0: Speak of the devil. We’ve got a penalty. P.K. Subban got caught chasing Marchand and got called for holding. The B’s are 0-for-6 this series on the man advantage.
Second period, 13:03, 0-0: This game resembles much of the rest of the series in that the puck is spending most of its time in the Montreal end, but it’s the Canadiens who seem to be generating the better scoring chances. A Lars Eller doorstep redirect fooled Tuukka Rask, but the netminder’s positioning did all the work on that save to keep the game at 0-0.
We still don’t have one penalty call in this game, and unlike Game 3, there haven’t actually been any calls that should have been made. It’s been a very fair, honest game out there. I think both teams realize what’s at stake, and nobody’s willing to screw it up.
Second period, 20:00, 0-0: They’re underway in the second period in Montreal.
End of first period, 0-0: The Boston Bruins must lead the entire NHL in posts hit in the playoffs. Carl Soderberg just had an open net staring him in the face off a rebound from Price, but the Swede smoked the crossbar and the puck bounced harmlessly away from the net.
That’s the Bruins’ second crossbar of the period, and it’s a trend that’s becoming increasingly frustrating for a team struggling to score goals.
Overall, I think the Bruins played the period they want to play. They weren’t perfect, but they were much better than their early efforts in the first three games of the series, and they didn’t make any mental mistakes that led to golden opportunities. Bartkowski made a couple of physical mistakes early, but they’ve played a mostly clean game aside from that.
But the Canadiens remain persistent, both in shot blocking and jumping up on odd-man rushes. The Canadiens have generated a few solid scoring chances, but either a diving Zdeno Chara or a locked-in Tuukka Rask have stood in the way.
Ultimately, the Bruins played a period of hockey which they can feel good about … but they didn’t do enough to gain a lead. More of the same, as far as this series is concerned.
First period, 5:41, 0-0: The game remains scoreless, but David Krejci (who’s come under fire a bit due to his lack of scoring) just made a crafty play to set up Torey Krug with a solid scoring chance. Price turned away Krug’s shot, but any time you can get a puck on a guy with a shot as dangerous as Krug’s, you’re doing something right.
First period, 9:23, 0-0: The home crowd is fired up after a huge hit by Douglas Murray on Shawn Thornton. The Bruins winger carried into the Montreal zone along the right wall, and Murray sized him up and drove his elbow right through the body. That’s two big, clean hits right in the same area of the ice thus far, but the Montreal fans appreciated seeing this one much more than the first.
The Bruins have done a much better job of protecting their own net and keeping their heads on straight so as not to allow breakaway after breakaway, a marked improvement from last game.
First period, 11:00, 0-0: Pacioretty is back. He didn’t sit for too long, so he’s presumably OK or just hiding his head pain. That happens in the NHL.
First period, 13:20, 0-0: Jarome Iginla threw an elbow into Max Pacioretty’s back along the half wall in the Montreal zone. Pacioretty suffered some whiplash and suffered some head pain, and he ewnt down before getting helped to the bench.
First period, 13:57, 0-0: The game heads to its first TV timeout with no score. The Bruins lead in shots, 5-3, which is an indication that perhaps they’ve gotten the message that they need to actually try in the first period. Matt Bartkowski has a bad turnover and a complete wipeout, both of which led to immediate scoring chances, and he hasn’t looked sharp in his early action back on the ice.
And the blocked shots train keeps on rolling for the Habs, who have already blocked three shots.
I’d give the Bruins the early edge in the physical play, for what that’s worth.
First period, 16:04, 0-0: So far we’ve got a huge Dale Weise hit on Shawn Thornton, a bad Matt Barwkowski turnover that leads to a Montreal shot on net, and Jarome Iginla ringing iron.
First period, 20:00: The puck has been dropped, Bergeron won the opening draw, and Game 4 has officially begun in
7:34 p.m.: It’ll be Marchand-Bergeron-Smith against Vanek-Plekanec-Gallagher to start this one. Minutes away from game time now.
7:27 p.m.: Fraser and Bartkowski are officially in the lineup. Meszaros and Jordan Caron are officially out.
7:12 p.m.: It’s just warmups, not gospel, so take it for what it’s worth, but Matt Bartkowski appears to be back in the lineup. New call-up Matt Fraser joined the third line, with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson. That pushed Daniel Paille back to the Merlot line, reuniting the line that’s been so effective over the past few years.
Andrej Meszaros appears to be the odd man out on defense after an altogether uninspired showing in Game 3.
6:40 p.m.: In case you weren’t aware, puck drop is shortly after 7:30 p.m. tonight. It’s been tough to keep track of, considering the start times in this series have been all over the board.
4:30 p.m.: Boy oh boy, the time between these games sure does seem like an eternity, doesn’t it?
Between teams complaining to the league about nothing calls, media members causing a stir on Twitter, lineup speculation and all the rest of the dirt that gets kicked up when the Bruins and Canadiens play, off days can seem like full weeks.
Yet here we are, just 48 hours from the pregame scene of Game 3. All the way back then, the Bruins were riding high off their impressive third-period comeback in Game 2. Now, the words “must” and “win” have been put next to each other when people are talking about the Bruins.
What a difference a few hours make.
Of course, that means that the Bruins can just as easily turn this whole series around tonight. A dominating win on the road, and the prospect of coming home for Game 5 Saturday night, and the pressure will be thrust onto Montreal.
That’s a long way from happening, though, because the Canadiens have done a thoroughly impressive job of disrupting much of what the Bruins have wanted to do. The Habs are sacrificing their bodies to block shots, and they’re being very opportunistic offensively. The result has been Montreal holding a lead for the majority of the series, and Boston playing catch-up.
Can the Bruins actually apply some pressure early in this one? That’s the great mystery, and the result in the first two periods tonight may very well decide this series.
As far as the lineup goes, Claude Julien went a little bit crazy in his morning skate today. For one, Carl Soderberg was absent, so things were bound to get mixed up a bit. But this …
… that’s just a little over the top. Julien said after the Game 3 loss that he at least thought about breaking up the Lucic-Krejci-Iginla line, but he said he didn’t want to mess up anything that was working on the other lines. So the chances that he’s willing to just throw 12 names into a hat and go with the trios that emerge are rather low, if you ask me.
We’ll get a better idea of what to expect out of the Bruins lines tonight when the team hits the ice for warmups. We’ll have that, plus updates and analysis from start to finish, as the Bruins try to even the series and fight off the prospect of falling behind 3-1. Follow along, won’t you?
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