MONTREAL – P.K. Subban has picked the right time to go on an offensive tear.
The 2013 Norris Trophy winner had his third straight two-point game with a goal and an assist, and the Montreal Canadiens held off the Boston Bruins for a 4-2 victory Tuesday to take the lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.
The Canadiens are up 2-1 with Game 4 set for Thursday in Montreal.
Subban has 11 points in seven playoff games.
“I’m just the beneficiary of the guys playing well around me, supporting me,” the defenseman said. “It starts in goal. Well, it actually starts with our coaching staff and making sure everybody is feeling confident. We’re doing it together. . . . When we had adversity, we’re sticking together doing the right things.
“It’s fun to play on teams where you know guys are going to support you.”
Lars Eller and fourth-line winger Dale Weise also had a goal and an assist, and Tomas Plekanec scored Montreal’s other goal.
Patrice Bergeron and Andrej Meszaros scored for the Bruins.
Subban became the third Canadiens defensemen with three consecutive games of more than one point in the playoffs, after Larry Robinson in 1978 and 1987 and J.C. Tremblay in 1971.
While Montreal has stolen home-ice advantage from the Bruins, the series between the longtime rivals is hardly over. Boston outshot Montreal 28-26, hemmed in the Canadiens in their end for long stretches, and looked nothing like a team that is overmatched and demoralized.
But unlike the first two games, the Bruins were unable to erase a two-goal deficit. Their frantic third-period comeback fell short, and Eller ended it with an empty-net goal with three seconds left.
“I don’t think we played badly. We just made stupid mistakes that ended up costing us the game,” said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. “We have to get rid of those and keep playing like we’re playing.
Wild 4, Blackhawks 0
In St. Paul, Minnesota. after a couple of quiet games and two sluggish periods, Mikael Granlund, Zach Parise and the rest of the Wild’s skill-position players came to life.
Granlund scored twice, Parise had a goal and an assist, and Erik Haula jump-started the Wild by scoring early in the third period in a victory over the Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinal series.
“The big guys definitely came through tonight,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 19 saves for his first shutout in the playoffs in eight years, and Chicago had its lead whittled to 2-1 with their first loss in 2½ weeks.
“Today is a tremendous team effort,” Bryzgalov said. “We play very, very, very nice hockey.”
Game 4 is Friday in Minnesota.
The announced attendance of 19,416 was the most in franchise history, but the atmosphere didn’t match that until shortly after the second intermission. Pucks were whizzing way wide of the net, and clogged shooting lanes led to plenty of thwarted opportunities for both sides.