The Boston Bruins set off on a two-game trip to Montreal fearing the worst.
After dropping the first two games in Boston, the Bruins travelled north to put an end to Montreal’s streak and return home having tied the series following two wins at the Bell Centre.
Michael Ryder’s overtime winner in Game 4 silenced the Montreal crowd, as the former Canadien capped off the Bruins’ 5-4 win with his second goal of the game just 1:59 into overtime.
The Canadiens seemingly had control of the game as Mike Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn scored 55 second apart to build a 3-1 lead. However, Bruins coach Claude Julien called a timeout and it proved vital as Boston stormed back thanks in part to Montreal’s sloppy defense.
A bullet from Andrew Ference cut Montreal’s lead at the half-way mark before Patrice Bergeron tied the game just before the second intermission.
The Canadiens took the lead again when PK Subban’s rocket eluded Tim Thomas on the power play, one of only three chances (combined) with the man advantage. The Bruins’ discipline was key against the deadly Habs special teams, as they seemed to use their strong physical play to their advantage
That patience paid off as a clever backhander to the net by Ryder was eventually scrambled home by Chris Kelly — his second goal in two games.
The Bruins took their patience into overtime and waited as the Canadiens committed too many men forward. A three-on-one break for the Bruins was finally battered home by Ryder to tie the series at 2-2, despite a questionable offsides call (to some).
The Canadiens will be ruing a host of missed chances, which would have put them in the driving seat. During the first twenty minutes, they outshot Boston, 15-8, and had several quality chances on Thomas. Despite giving up two bad goals in Game 3, Thomas looked confident, and despite their dominance, the Canadiens only had a 1-0 lead after the first period.
For the first half of the game, the Habs were committed and — despite the disadvantage in size — were winning a lot of puck battles along the boards. David Desharnais kept up the intensity from start to finish, but he wasn’t joined by his team-mates.
Subban may have scored a vital goal to give the Habs an early 4-3 lead in the third period, but defensively he made several errors. Subban wasn’t the only culprit as Roman Hamrlik couldn’t clear the puck in a dangerous area, allowing Bergeron to tie the game at the end of the second period.
The Canadiens are used to life without Andrei Markov, who has been missing from action since November, leaving organization of the blue-line to Hal Gill. At times, Montreal’s defense seemed more concerned with beating Thomas than protecting Carey Price, who has now lost his last four playoff games at the Bell Centre.
The revival of Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta didn’t last long. They both ended the game a minus-3, and despite grabbing an assist each, they couldn’t influence the game.
Andrei Kostitsyn (one goal) and Michael Cammalleri (one goal, two assists), however, came to play scoring just 55 seconds apart in the second period to give the Habs a 3-1 lead at the time.
Lucic nowhere to be seen
Milan Lucic was one of the keys to the Bruins’s success this season tallying 30 goals. However, the 22-year-old hasn’t registered a single shot or point during this year’s playoffs, and hasn’t found the net since March 22 in a 4-1 win over the Devils.
With Lucic out of sorts, Ryder stepped up and got the better of his former employers to send his team home with their heads held high and his opponents scratching their heads in search of answers, something his current team was doing after their loss in Game 2.