In a pivotal Game 5 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Boston Bruins emerged victorious by a 4-2 score to take a 3-2 series lead over the Montreal Canadiens.
The Bruins came out firing early in the first period Saturday. The line of Carl Soderberg, Loui Eriksson and Matt Fraser produced heavy pressure against the Canadiens defense.
This line produced the first goal of the game, as Eriksson sent a pass to Soderberg from behind the net, and Soderberg found the corner past Carey Price.
With momentum on their side, the Bruins began the second period on a power play.
It didn't take long for them to capitalize.
Reilly Smith scored quickly on the power play, and just 32 seconds later Jarome Iginla found the back of the net on a one-timer from Torey Krug.
All of a sudden the Canadiens found themselves in a 3-0 hole.
It's not as though Montreal wasn't able to apply any pressure, but the team simply wasn't as effective on the offensive side of the ice. Fluto Shinzawa of The Boston Globe tweeted his thoughts:
Despite a Game 4 victory, Boston coach Claude Julien didn't think his team was playing as well as it could, per The Associated Press, via ESPN.com.
Said Julien, "I don't think we've played our best hockey. We've played hard, but I've seen us play better. You hope the win here will help us get better and we'll go from there."
After that flurry of goals, he must have been thinking differently. He was.
During a post-game press conference with the Associated Press, via ESPN.com, he explained how his team turned things around:
Julien said, "I think our power play wasn't effective the first period. We had a little chat after the opening period about turning up the intensity. Then when we scored the two goals, and the power play was huge."
Later in the period, P.K. Subban continued his stellar play across the ice. He brought plenty of pressure to the Bruins side and forced Tuukka Rask to make some brilliant saves.
Rask wouldn't be perfect for the game, though.
Shortly after, Tomas Plekanec fired a shot from between the circles on a power play that glanced off Brendan Gallagher and soared past Rask into the back of the net.
Dave Stubbs of The Gazette tweeted his take:
That was the first time Rask allowed a goal in quite some time, according to a tweet from Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports:
Heading into the third period, the Canadiens needed to keep some momentum going, but Rask and Co. made that feat very difficult.
Montreal found its way to the Bruins' side of the ice on several occasions. However, even when the team was able to fire off a clean shot, Rask made sure there were no rebounds to be had.
Deep into the third period, the Soderberg line was back at it for the Bruins.
Eriksson was patient in front of Price, waiting for the goaltender to make the first move. As Price lunged to his left, Eriksson shifted around to the right and found a wide-open net in front of him.
Soon after, the Canadiens, down three goals, pulled Price with just under five minutes remaining.
However, a mistake by Matt Bartkowski afforded Montreal a power play. The Canadiens took full advantage, as Subban quickly fired one past Rask to bring his team to within two goals.
Price was pulled once again with two minutes remaining, and Montreal gained an extra attacker once more.
Neither team was able to take advantage, though, and the game concluded in a victory for Boston.
Despite the 4-2 score, the game was very even, statistically speaking:
|Canadiens vs. Bruins: Game 5 Statistics|
The Bruins will attempt to put the series away in Game 6, while the Canadiens will try to draw even once more.
Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe tweeted a reminder of what the next game means for the Bruins:
After the loss, Price noted his team's frame of mind during a press conference with the Associated Press, via ESPN.com, "It has to be desperation mode. We've got enough guys here that have faced that type of situation we're in."
These teams are set to take the ice Monday in Montreal. Game 6 will take place at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on NBCSN.
The way this roller-coaster series has looked so far, chances are you won't regret tuning in.