Bruins Look To Put Finishing Touch On Playoff Series

By Bryan Mongeau-Eastmond, staff writer

BRUINS 4, CANADIENS 2

Boston tighten their strangle hold on Habs and take a 3-0 series lead.

MONTREAL (RPRN) 04/21/09– In a contest that mirrored the series opener in terms of face-paced hockey and plenty of hard-hitting to go around, the Bruins have managed to diminish the enthusiasm surrounding the Habs.

The Boston Bruins took a commanding lead in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Montreal Canadiens with a convincing 4-2 win at the Bell Center.

Michael Ryder scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period and Chuck Kobasew blew past Saku Koivu and added an empty netter with 37 seconds remaining to seal the deal for the Bruins and take a comfortable 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series.

Last game the Bruins took advantage of an undisciplined Montreal hockey club to extend their series lead. In game 3, the Bruins were once again opportunistic as the Habs were riddled with injuries. Left wing Alex Tanguay and defenseman Mathieu Schneider were both unable to play for Montreal with upper bodies injuries.

The injury to Schneider was detrimental to the Canadiens’ power play unit as they failed to keep the puck inside their opponent’s zone and create any real scoring chances. The entire lineup seemed lost and the fans did not shy away from displaying their disappointment. The Canadiens are 0-for-6 on the power play in the series.

The Bruins were not the only team without the services of one of their star players. Left wing Milan Lucic, was suspended one game after striking Maxim Lapierre in the head with his stick during a scrum in game 2.

Despite the absence of Lucic, Boston was able to weather the storm early on in front of a vibrant Montreal crowd and managed to seize any momentum away from the home team after Chris Higgins opened the scoring with 8:07 left in the first period. Yannick Weber added the other goal.

Boston managed to tie the game up twice with goals from Phil Kessel Shawn Thornton.
Carey Price got the start in net for Montreal, after rumours that Jaroslav Halak might be the chosen one after Saturday’s one-sided loss.

The Canadiens did manage to clean up their act and take fewer penalties in their biggest
game of the year. Prior to the game, Habs defensemen Roman Hamrlik stressed the importance of not taking “stupid penalties,” and playing smarter hockey.

The Habs followed that game plan to the letter; however, they must start winning hockey in an effort to prolong their season.

It seems like no matter what changes or game plan the Canadiens throw at the Bruins, the Black and Gold always have an answer.

Boston are one win away from sending Montreal packing and advancing to the next playoff round. It’s unlikely that Boston will squander a three game lead and allow the Habs to overcome such a deficit considering the way the Bruins have dominated the team’s series.

To make matters worst, Montreal has been ice cold of lately losing seven in a row, including its last four games of the regular season.

Montreal’s key players have been very quiet during the post season and it’s hard to imagine younger guys looking at veterans for a positive outlook by any standard.

SERIES STATUS:

BRUINS LEAD 3-0 OVER CANADIENS
GAME 4: @Montreal, Wed. 4/22, 7 p.m.

PENGUINS LEAD 2-1 OVER FLYERS
GAME 4: @Philadelphia, Tue. 4/21, 7 p.m.

RANGERS LEAD 2-1 OVER CAPITALS
GAME 4: @N.Y. Rangers, Wed. 4/22, 7 p.m

DUCKS LEADS 2-0 OVER SHARKS
GAME 3: @Anaheim, Tue. 4/21, 10:30 p.m

CANUCKS LEAD 3-0 OVER BLUES
GAME 4: @St. Louis, Tue. 4/21, 8 p.m.

DEVILS LEAD 2-1 OVER HURRICANES
GAME 4: @Carolina, Tue. 4/21, 7:30 p.m.

BLACKHAWKS LEAD 2-1 OVER FLAMES
GAME 4: @Calgary, Wed. 4/22, 10:00 p.m.

RED WINGS LEAD 2-0 OVER BLUE JACKETS
GAME 3: @Columbus, Tue. 4/21, 7 p.m

Photo of Montreal goalie Carey Price seeing his team fall 4-2 courtesy of the National Hockey League.

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