BOSTON – Twice the Montreal Canadiens took the lead in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the rival Bruins.
Twice they allowed Boston to tie it.
Heading into the locker room after a lackluster third period cost them a chance at a regulation victory, Carey Price knew that there was still a chance to recover.
“We all realized the game was still up for grabs, and feeling sorry for yourself is not the best way to go about things,” the Montreal goalie said after making 48 saves to lead the Canadiens to a 4-3, double-overtime victory over Boston on Thursday.
P.K. Subban scored his second goal of the game at 4:17 of the second overtime, and the Canadiens won in Boston to take home-ice advantage from the team that had the NHL’s best record in the regular season. Game 2 is back at the TD Garden on Saturday.
Rene Bourque and Francis Bouillon also scored for Montreal, which blew 2-0 and 3-2 leads in the third period. Subban’s second goal came 7 seconds into the Canadiens’ second power play of overtime, leading fans to pelt the ice with cups and giveaway towels as the players filed off to the locker rooms.
“They were the best team in the league all season long,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. “. . . But us, we found a way to win.,”
Reilly Smith, Torey Krug and Johnny Boychuk scored for Boston, and Tuukka Rask made 29 saves. The Bruins, who never led in the game, had several other good chances in the third period and first overtime, with pucks hitting the crossbar and trickling across the crease but failing to cross the line.
“(We) don’t get frustrated after one game,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “Had lots of chances and we showed some resiliency. Have to find a way to bury those great opportunities we had. That is the regret.”
The Bruins outshot the Canadiens 14-6 in the third period as they twice rallied to tie it. Montreal picked up a power play at the end of the first overtime and failed to score, and then another when Matt Bartkowski was sent off for taking down Dale Weise in the crease to keep him from getting to a loose puck.
The Canadiens won the ensuing faceoff and worked the puck around to Subban, who slapped it past Rask to end the game.
Canucks fire Tortorella
Vancouver British Columbia AP
The Vancouver Canucks fired John Tortorella on Thursday, one year into the fiery coach’s long-term deal.
Tortorella, who signed a five-year contract last summer after being dismissed by the New York Rangers, went 36-35-11 and failed to reach the playoffs behind the Vancouver bench. Assistant coach Mike Sullivan was also fired.
The Canucks’ 25th-place finish in the 30-team NHL, their worst in 14 years, came just three seasons after former coach Alain Vigneault led the team to Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. Vigneault replaced Tortorella as coach of the Rangers, who advanced to the second round of the playoffs on Wednesday with a Game 7 win over Philadelphia.
Tortorella’s dismissal came just weeks after general manager Mike Gillis was fired.