Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price stole Game 1 of his team’s second-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Boston Bruins with a sensational performance.
He wasn’t as fortunate in Saturday’s Game 2 at TD Garden when the Bruins scored four unanswered third-period goals to even the series as it shifts to Montreal for the next two games.
"Well, they poured it on at the end of the game," Price said. "They got pretty lucky, I thought. They were playing desperate at the end of the game, and they found a way to put it in the net. We’ve just got to regroup, realize the situation we’re in, we’re in a good spot, and move forward."
Price is right, to an extent. The Bruins did get some fortunate bounces during their comeback. One example was Patrice Bergeron’s goal that tied the score 3-3 with a little more than five minutes remaining in regulation. Bergeron fired a quick turnaround wrist shot from along the half wall, and it would have gone wide past the net if the puck didn’t deflect off Canadiens defenseman Francis Bouillon and go up over Price’s left shoulder.
Luck was a factor, no doubt, but the Bruins earned their scoring chances by dominating puck possession with a 53.8 corsi-for percentage and a 35-27 shots on goal advantage. They played a physical style of hockey with an intensity that the Canadiens couldn’t match in the final 20 minutes. Boston was first to loose pucks, won most of the 50-50 battles along the boards and cycled the puck effectively to generate consistent attacking zone pressure. The Bruins also eliminated a lot of the bad turnovers and sloppy play that hurt them in Game 1 and through two periods Saturday afternoon.
The Canadiens’ meltdown would shatter the confidence of many goaltenders, especially those who have never reached the conference finals and are under tremendous pressure to win in a hockey-crazed market. But Price doesn’t think the Game 2 loss will negatively impact his game moving forward.
After all, Montreal needed at least one victory in Boston to win this series, and it accomplished this mission early.
"It’s time to regroup," Price said. "Winners regroup and realize the situation they’re in. I thought we did an excellent job so far. We came and did what we wanted to do, split these two games. Now we’re going to move forward and take it to them on home ice."