The Montreal Canadiens had several lapses Monday night at TD Garden. But a strong start and a clutch finish in the third period and both overtimes proved to be enough to kill Boston’s surging momentum as the Habs came away with a 4-3 double-OT victory in Game 1 and a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Game 2 is Saturday at TD Garden (12:30 p.m., NBC) with Game 3 coming next Tuesday in Montreal (7 p.m., NBCSN).
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P.K. Subban netted his second goal of the night 4:17 into the second extra session to give the Habs the walk-off win. Subban’s shot came on a slap shot immediately after Matt Bartkowski was hit for a holding penalty on Dale Weise.
The Bruins tired after holding all of the momentum in the third period after Reilly Smith’s shot found its way through several bodies past Canadiens goaltender Carey Price just 2:44 into in the final frame. Torey Krug also got the best of Price with a powerful slap shot that beat the Olympic gold medalist low. A Boston comeback win seemed inevitable after Krug’s tying goal but the Canadiens held firm, showing the Bruins that they are entirely different animal than the likes of the Red Wings.
The Bruins had actually outshot Montreal, 22-17, through two periods but Price was that good early. He finished with a whopping 48 saves.
Francis Bouillon beat Tuukka Rask (29 saves) high off after being set up by Brian Gionta and Rene Bourque with just under eight minutes remaining in regulation to give Montreal a 3-2 advantage but Johnny Boychuk would not let the B's go quietly as he fired in another tying goal with just under two minutes to play in regulation.
What they'll be saying: We expected a classic. It looks as though we're going to get it. Tuukka Rask and Carey Price were both phenomenal and both offenses went through periods where they clicked.
There was a surprising lack of instigation from both teams as most expected there to be brawls left and right. Guessing that comes in due time.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS