BOSTON – It took the Boston Bruins five years to score a power-play goal in the playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens.
They needed only 32 seconds to do it again.
Reilly Smith and Jarome Iginla scored on back-to-back advantages to help the Bruins snap an 0-for-39 postseason power-play drought against Montreal and beat the Canadiens 4-2 on Saturday night. The victory in Game 5 gave Boston a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series and a chance to eliminate its Original Six archrival in Montreal on Monday night.
“It’s been a little bit. We all know that,” said Iginla, who just joined the team this season. “Guys are on it, and we want to come through on the power play.”
Carey Price made 26 saves for Montreal. Brendan Gallagher and P.K. Subban scored for the Canadiens, who need a victory in Game 6 on Monday to force the series back to Boston for a seventh game Wednesday night.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s going to be a tough game,” Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. “You have to be prepared for everything, because you can’t expect anything less from that team.”
Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson also scored for Boston. Tuukka Rask stopped 29 shots, extending his shutout streak to 122 minutes, 6 seconds before Gallagher scored to make it 3-1 on a power play with 5:21 left in the second period.
Subban had a late goal on a power play with Price pulled to make it a 6-on-4. The Canadiens played much of the last five minutes with an empty net, but could not get closer than two-goals down.
The most-decorated team in the NHL, Montreal has reached the conference finals just once since winning its 24th Stanley Cup title in 1993.
“It has to be desperation mode,” Price said. “We’ve got enough guys here that have faced that type of situation we’re in.”
The Bruins had not scored a power-play goal in the playoffs against the Canadiens in 39 tries over 14 games dating to 2009.
Soderberg gave Boston the lead with 6:40 left in the first, and it was still 1-0 at the end of the period when Tomas Plekanec was penalized for interfering with the goaltender. Just 64 seconds after the break, Smith redirected Dougie Hamilton’s shot past Price to make it 2-0.
Sixteen seconds later, Plekanec was sent off again — this time for high-sticking. It only took 6 seconds into the power play for the Bruins to make it 3-0 on a backhand crossing pass from Torey Krug to Iginla.
“I think our power play wasn’t effective the first period,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We had a little chat after the opening period about turning up the intensity. Then when we scored the two goals, and the power play was huge.”
Plekanec set up Gallagher to cut the deficit to two goals late in the second period, but Eriksson snapped in the rebound of Game 4 hero Matt Fraser’s shot with just under 6 minutes left in the game to make it 4-1.
Ducks 2, Kings 0
In Los Angeles, John Gibson made 28 saves in his dynamic NHL playoff debut, captain Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist, and Anaheim evened its second-round playoff series with a victory over the Kings in Game 4.
Devante Smith-Pelly also scored in the first period and Corey Perry had two assists for top-seeded Anaheim, which bounced back from two series-opening losses at home with consecutive victories at Staples Center.
The Ducks started their third goalie in three games with the dramatic entrance of Gibson, the 20-year-old American widely considered the best goaltending prospect in hockey.
Jonathan Quick allowed two goals in the first period before getting replaced by rookie Martin Jones, who faced just three shots.
Game 5 is Monday night in Anaheim.
The visitors have dominated the series between teams separated by 45 km on the I-5 freeway, and the Ducks ramped up their defense downtown to even the series — even with a revolving door in the crease.
Gibson, who made his NHL debut with three victories late in the regular season, got the nod from coach Bruce Boudreau in place of veteran Jonas Hiller, who started the first two games against Los Angeles and finished Game 3.