After more than 60 scoreless minutes of hockey, it was Matt Fraser who broke the tie and scored the game-winner for the Boston Bruins, giving the road team a 1-0 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Tom Gulitti of The Record noted what made this game so special for the 23-year-old Fraser:
Wow. Big first NHL playoff game for Matt Fraser. OT winner for Boston.— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) May 9, 2014
Tuukka Rask earned the shutout for Boston with 33 saves in net. This was slightly better than Montreal's Carey Price, who saved all but one of the 35 shots against him.
This evened up the series at 2-2 as the two teams will now make the trip back to Boston for Game 5.
The game started quite slowly as neither side was able to get any shots past the goalies. Brendan Fitzgerald of Fox 25 points out how well the Bruins had performed in the first period, especially Rask:
Tuukka on his game. #Bruins look really good... BUT need the 1st goal.— Brendan Fitzgerald (@FITZonFOX25) May 9, 2014
However, the offense was still disappointing, especially the top line, according to Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe:
Bruins No. 1 line attempted 1 shot (Iggy) in first period. Averaged bit more than six minutes of ice time— Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) May 9, 2014
Bruins head coach Claude Julien was hoping for a big effort from his first line coming into the game. According to Michael Hurley of CBS Boston, the coach explained:
This is a line that has been hot and cold for us so far in the playoffs. We need them. David has shown a little bit of frustration there, so he’s got to battle through that stuff. But again, it’s a line that’s given us a lot this year, and sometimes you have to have a little bit of trust. Right now, that’s what I’ve got. But things have to get better for that line for us to be successful.
The trio of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla could not come through, but they were able to get enough production from other players to earn the win.
Of course, the game finished the first period scoreless, which was actually a rarity in the series:
After 1st period at Bell Centre: Bruins 0, Canadiens 0. Boston outshot Montreal 13-10. This is 1st scoreless frame in regulation this series— Richard Slate (@RichSlate) May 9, 2014
This drought continued into the second period despite a couple of penalties that seemed to open things up. P.K. Subban and Matt Bartkowski were each called for holding for their respective teams, but neither side was able to capitalize.
Jeff Pini of Boston.com provides a recap of the second period:
The next 20 minutes still were not enough to decide a winner as neither side was able to score in the third period. Alexei Emelin picked up a two-minute penalty for the Canadiens on a boarding penalty, but the home team was once again able to kill the penalty.
As the Bruins' account noted, this meant overtime:
Horn sounds on regulation. 60 minutes won't solve Game 4. To overtime we go... ^CS— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 9, 2014
Finally, Fraser was able to come through with a goal just one minute and 19 seconds into overtime, as described by the team's account:
What a shift. Soderberg with the backhand chance in tight as he was falling, and then Fraser pots the loose puck. Just 1:19 into OT ^CS— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 9, 2014
Carl Soderberg and Johnny Boychuk earned the assists on the deciding play. The series will now move back to Boston for Game 5, set for 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 10.
Even with the win, the Bruins need to keep up their momentum to take the series lead at home. Rask has been solid, but they need to produce more offensively if they want to win this series.
Meanwhile, Montreal is hoping that this game was a fluke after scoring at least three goals in each of the first three games of the series. If the squad can continue to produce, it will remain in good shape going forward.
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