After Boston’s superb performance in Game 5 on Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens responded in kind tonight with a 4-0 victory, forcing a Game 7 of their opening round series on Wednesday at TD Garden.
Canadiens netminder Carey Price was great when he needed to be, turning aside all 26 Bruins shots en route to his first shutout of the 2014 postseason.
Price had some help midway through the third period, though, as forward David Desharnais was able to knock the puck off the Canadiens’ goal line. The 27-year-old forward has struggled offensively in the postseason, but he made a big impact tonight with that one play.
Desharnais also added an assist and provided a spark to Montreal’s two big guns — Max Pacioretty and Thomas Vanek — both of whom were huge on Monday night. Pacioretty had two points, including his first goal of the series, while Vanek scored twice and now has five goals through 10 playoff contests.
As for the Boston side of things… Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask obviously didn’t match Price statistically, but he did hold his own in this contest. It’s fair to say his defenders could have done more to make this night pleasant for him.
Early in the first period, rookie blueliner Kevan Miller mishandled the puck, which led to Montreal forward Lars Eller’s goal just 2:11 in. In the second period, defenseman Zdeno Chara arguably could have done more in a race with Pacioretty, which resulted in the Canadiens’ second goal.
Just 2:15 minutes later, Vanek made it 3-0 while Bruins forward Gregory Campbell was in the sin bin for high-sticking.
Vanek added an empty netter with 3:56 remaining because of a neutral-zone turnover while Rask was heading to the bench for the extra attacker. To add insult to injury, it counts as a goal against the Bruins goaltender because he wasn’t on the bench yet.
As mentioned above, the series now shifts back to Boston for the deciding Game 7. It’ll be interesting to see how the Bruins respond to their most lopsided defeat of the playoffs and, conversely, how Montreal will deal with playing at TD Garden, where it has lost two in a row.