2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – First Round Series Recap
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game 5 - Boston 2, Montreal 1 (OT) – Bruins lead series, 3-2
Finally, a home team won a game in this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. It couldn’t have come a moment too soon for the Boston Bruins, a dead team walking one week ago that has abruptly changed its outlook. Easter weekend is a weekend for resurrections, and the boys from Beantown are in the process of creating a remarkable back-from-the-dead narrative against the team that has killed them so many times over the years.
Nathan Horton scored at 9:03 of the second overtime to give the Bruins a 2-1 victory and more importantly a 3-2 lead over Montreal in their first-round playoff series. Montreal goalie Carey Price stopped Andrew Ference's wrist shot from 30 feet but couldn't control the juicy rebound. Horton then took advantage and buried his second goal of the playoffs into the open right side of the net, sending TD Garden into a state of unrestrained delirium.
This game on Saturday night marked Boston's second overtime win in three days, including a 5-4 victory on Thursday night in Montreal. The Bruins, living in a ditch when trailing the series 2-0 and facing two road games in Quebec, have lived on the edge in each of the last two games, but they’ve found answers in overtime while the Habs have been cruelly denied a pair of victories they were so close to attaining. Each of these past two overtime games have featured premium scoring chances in extra time, but only Boston has been able to find the back of the net. That’s the small differential between winning and losing in the playoffs, and the Bruins have found it precisely when many hockey pundits counted them out.
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After neither team could light the lamp in the first two periods, Boston took the early lead in Game 5 with a third period goal from Brad Marchand at the 4:33 minute mark of the final period. Montreal answered with a goal of its own at the 13:56 mark when John Halpern beat Tim Thomas and tied the score at one. Both teams continued to generate good looks at a game-winning tally, but both netminders stood on their heads to prolong the proceedings. Thomas ended up with 44 saves for Boston, while Carey Price had 49.
Less than four minutes before Horton scored the game-winning goal of the series, Thomas made the save of the series, impossibly denying Brian Gionta's bid on a 2-on-1 to one-time the puck into the empty half of the net. That play energized the Bruins and just moments later, Horton sent Boston back to Montreal with a chance to end the Habs’ season.
By: Matt Zemek
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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