Plenty can happen in five minutes and 32 seconds of a hockey game, especially when you’re talking about a pivotal postseason matchup. Boston completely changed the complexion of Game 2 and possibly their Eastern Conference semifinal series vs. Montreal on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden as they rallied from a 1-3 hole to make it 4-3 before they clinched it with an empty-netter by Milan Lucic.
Suddenly, a 2-0 series deficit going to Montreal turned into a 1-1 deadlock where anything is possible. It was the third time this postseason that Boston has rallied from down two goals and second time already this series, the difference in Game 2 was that they came out on top whereas in Game 1 they eventually lost a heartbreaker 4-3 in double overtime.
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“This game showed our character,” said Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (25 saves). “We make it hard on ourselves at times but it was a gutsy win. At the start of the third period, we were kind of waiting for something to happen and it was a nice play by Dougie to cut it to 3-2. We never looked back; we kept plugging away and playing our style.”
Unlike Game 1, Boston scored the first goal as Daniel Paille beat Carey Price (30 saves) midway through the first period. Montreal went ahead with a pair of goals to bookend the second period: Mike Weaver’s shot through traffic found its way in the net and Thomas Vanek scored a power-play goal when he tipped in P.K. Subban’s shot from the point. When Vanek notched basically a carbon copy (power play, tip in from Subban) tally in the third period, things didn’t look good for the B’s. However, Hamilton’s goal seemed to wake up the Bruins and then Patrice Bergeron had some luck when his shot went off Francis Bouillon and by Price.
Reilly Smith had what turned out to be the game-winner a few minutes later as he roofed the puck over Price. The key for Boston is that they stayed composed even when things weren’t going their way by any means.
“These guys have been through so much,” acknowledged Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “We just had to put frustration and everything aside because we know it won’t be any easier when we are in Montreal.”
Game 3 is Tuesday (7, NBCSN) at the Bell Centre and Game 4 is on Thursday (7:30, NBCSN).
What they'll be saying: The Bruins have proven time and again that you can’t count them out, whether we’re talking about this postseason or going back to last spring (Game 7 vs. Toronto) which is still relevant since it is mostly the same roster. This was the first time in the playoffs since Game 6 vs. Vancouver (5-2 win) in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final that Boston scored four goals in the third period.
Julien made two lineup changes from Game 1 as Matt Bartkowski and Justin Florek had a seat in the press box while Andrej Meszaros and Jordan Caron took their places. There wasn’t much of a noticeable difference between them although Meszaros did assist on Paille’s goal. Caron played a game-low 4:52, due in part to Boston killing so many penalties (6 including a hooking call on him) and Shawn Thornton also left briefly with a knee injury.
Speaking of the power play, through two games Montreal is 4 for 9 on the man advantage while Boston is 0 for 5. The Bruins need to improve in that area since they won’t survive at the Bell Centre playing like that.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate