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Price makes 27 saves to push Bruins to the brink in 1-0 Habs win

BOSTON - Carey Price wishes all his teammates could have his latest shutout show up on their stat sheet.


BOSTON - Carey Price wishes all his teammates could have his latest shutout show up on their stat sheet.

Patrice Brisebois' power play goal late in the second period was the winner and Price did the rest for his first career playoff shutout in a 1-0 win over Boston that put the Bruins on the brink of elimination. Price has had a season full of milestones, but he said the shutout Tuesday night beats them all.

"The only thing that makes it special is that we only won by one," Price, 20, said of his 27-save performance. "But it wasn't only me out there. I thought everybody deserved a goose egg tonight. I wish a shutout like that can be under everybody's column."

The Canadiens lead the series 3-1 and have a chance to close it out in Game 5 on Thursday night at the Bell Centre, where the Bruins haven't won in six tries this season.

"It's pretty simple," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We just need to go into Montreal and win the next game."

Price didn't necessarily have to be brilliant, but he was there to make the saves when he needed to and backstopped a suddenly offensively challenged Canadiens team to a tight road victory.

"I think right now he's in his comfort zone and it's going to be tough to get him out of it," said Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau. "He wasn't extraordinary, but when it came time to shut the door in the third period that's what he did, when it came time to win the fourth game he was really solid. That's what we hope he'll be able to do in the next game."

Brisebois, Montreal's oldest player by exactly 11 months, made his NHL debut when Price was only two years old. His slapshot through a crowd off a great Andrei Kostitsyn rush gave his team the win.

"I knew that was a big goal, our power play's struggling right now and we're looking for solutions," Brisebois said of his ninth career playoff goal.

"When I saw that chance come up, I just wanted to bury that puck."

Another strong contingent of Canadiens fans came down to Boston for the game and continued booing Zdeno Chara every time he touched the puck, their presence once again helping the Bruins draw a sellout crowd of 17,565 to TD Banknorth Garden.

"It's great to be able to go out on the road and have all those fans following you around," Price said. "It's nice to be able to get some support, especially when everyone else is booing you."

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was big in goal for the Bruins with 27 saves, but his teammates were unable to get anything past Price at the other end and he wound up with a hard-luck loss.

He said he was initially fooled into thinking Brisebois' shot didn't go in because of the loud Habs fans in the crowd.

"I saw him winding up to take the shot but then I lost it," Thomas said. "I heard it hit the crossbar, then I heard the crowd cheer so I thought it didn't go in, I thought it went up in the netting. I couldn't see the puck because it was buried in the net, but then I saw the Canadiens guys celebrating."

Carbonneau promised changes, and there were several.

Winger Michael Ryder was scratched in favour of rookie defenceman Ryan O'Byrne, while Mark Streit moved up to the wing from the blue-line. O'Byrne only played 9:30, but Carbonneau said his presence was useful.

"When a guy who's six-foot-six has his stick on the ice and uses his body, he takes up a lot of space," Carbonneaus said. "He did what he had to do."

In an attempt to get his leading regular season scorer away from Chara, Carbonneau played Alex Kovalev at least one shift on all four forward lines in the second.

"I was trying to change the tempo a little bit," Carbonneau said. "They've done a good job, especially here in Boston, to put a certain line and Chara against him, so I was trying to double shift him a couple of times and throw different lines out there."

The Canadiens went ahead 1-0 with only 48 seconds left in the second period by scoring their first power play goal since Kovalev's overtime winner in Game 2, and only their second of the series. Andrei Kostitsyn entered the Bruins zone alone against three Bruins defenders, wheeled to the outside and behind the net before throwing the puck in front.

Thomas kicked it out to the point, where Brisebois one-timed a slapper through a crowd in front for his first of the playoffs at 19:12 of the second.

Price and Thomas were both sharp leading to the Brisebois goal, and the Canadiens were lucky the Bruins didn't capitalize on some of their early chances.

Glen Murray had two of the better ones. The first was about 30 seconds after the opening faceoff when he was alone in front but re-directed his shot wide, and the second came midway through the second when Price got across to stop his shot from the slot on a nice set-up by Marc Savard.

Marco Sturm also had a glorious chance in the first when Price raced out to challenge him for a loose puck and lost the race, but was still able to knock Sturm's stick as he was shooting at an empty net to push it wide.

"When we had a chance to capitalize, and we had some great opportunities, we didn't bury them," Julien said. "When you get those kinds of opportunities you have to bury them."

Notes: Bruins D Aaron Ward was injured with about two minutes remaining in the game on a hit by Tomas Plekanec. Julien described the hit as a knee from Plekanec, and said Ward is questionable to play in Game 5The Bruins made no lineup changes from Game 3, meaning winger Phil Kessel and defenceman Andrew Alberts were healthy scratches for the third time in the series. Patrice Bergeron (concussion) remains on the sidelines while he awaits clearance from his neurologist for game action, and centre Chuck Kobasew is out with a leg injuryCanadiens captain Saku Koivu (foot) and defenceman Francis Bouillon (ankle) are still not ready to return to action. Carbonneau says Koivu will have another X-Ray on his broken left foot Wednesday, while Bouillon may be ready to play in Game 5It was the 11th time this season Ryder was a healthy scratch.





 
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