Monday, July 27, 2015

Habs stave off elimination

MONTREAL—Old rivals Montreal and Boston are going to a decisive seventh game once again.
The Canadiens kept up a furious pace and produced their best effort of the playoffs last night as Max Pacioretty had a goal and an assist, and Carey Price made 26 saves, in a 4-0 victory over the Bruins that staved off elimination.

The NHL Eastern Conference semi-final series is tied 3-3 going into Game 7 tomorrow night in Boston, where the Bruins no doubt will be looking for the same boost from their fans that the singing, chanting, and generally deafening 21,273 at the Bell Centre gave the Canadiens.
“It’s sudden death now,” said Pacioretty. “Everything in the past will be forgotten once Game 7 rolls around.
“They like playing in their building. We have to find a way to come out the same,” he noted.
“We’re a frustrating team when everyone’s skating like that and everyone’s on board,” Pacioretty added.
“We have to find a way to do that again.”
Pacioretty, who had only one assist in the first five games, scored and then set up Thomas Vanek’s goal in the second period.
Lars Eller scored in the first for Montreal while Vanek added his second of the game into an empty net with 3:56 left in regulation time.
“I was just waiting for my time to pitch in offensively,” said Pacioretty.
“Obviously, you wanted it to happen more often in the playoffs.
“But I feel confident,” he added.
“You want to feel you’re helping the team win and I think I did that.”
It is the same scenario as the last time these teams met in the post-season in 2011, when the Canadiens won at home to force a Game 7.
That year, they lost the decisive first-round game in overtime.
It is the 34th time overall the teams have faced each other in the playoffs.
The game turned in the second period after the Canadiens—leading 1-0—held off a ferocious Boston attack through a 5:11 stretch without a whistle.
It included killing a minor penalty to P.K. Subban and was highlighted by a Price stop at the doorstep on Milan Lucic.
Defencemen Mike Weaver and Josh Gorges shared a nearly three-minute shift in the midst of it.
“You’re just buying time,” noted Weaver. “I think guys at that point, you’ve just got to be positionally sound.
“You can’t be chasing all over the ice,” he stressed.
Not long after, rookie Nathan Beaulieu threw a pass up the middle that Pacioretty chased down and went in alone to score.
Bruins’ coach Claude Julien felt that stretch was his team’s best chance to make a game of it.
“The second goal probably hurt us the most because we were spending a lot of time in their end and we had some great chances to tie the game, but that kind of turned the tide around,” remarked Julien.
“I didn’t like the way they got their goals tonight.”
Asked what he expects from Game 7, Julien replied: “I expect us to win.”
When Montreal coach Michel Therrien was asked the same question, he said: “Anything can happen in a Game 7. That’s the beauty of it.”
Elsewhere, Anaheim beat L.A. 4-3 to take a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference semi-final series.

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