BOSTON (AP) _ Montreal Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore was often overshadowed by Bruins counterpart Andrew Raycroft in the first four games of their first-round playoff series.
Theodore, a former NHL MVP, re-established himself on Thursday night as a player to watch.
Theodore made 43 saves, and Saku Koivu had a goal and two assists in helping the Canadiens stay alive with 5-1 victory over the Bruins. The Canadiens trail the best-of-seven series 3-2 and host Game 6 on Saturday night.
And Theodore is a big reason why their season is still going as he turned aside Boston's relentless pressure for the first 15 minutes.
``We all knew they were going to come out really strong, and they did that,'' Theodore said. ``They had the momentum, they were throwing the hits, and they were getting a lot of shots.''
But it was the Canadiens who scored first, tallying on a quick counterattack at 5:43 of the first period. Jason Ward sent Yanic Perreault in alone, and his shot deflected off of Raycroft's pads and inside the far post.
``In the first 15 minutes of the first period, Jose made some key saves and Yanic came up big,'' said Koivu, who had a hand in both of Montreal's power-play goals.
He scored on a rebound with 8:44 left in the third period to make it 4-1 when the Canadiens had a two-man advantage. Koivu also assisted on Craig Rivet's power-play goal with 6:34 remaining that made it 5-1.
Rivet beat Raycroft with a long slap shot.
``I don't think we were there mentally,'' Raycroft said.
The Bruins continued to struggle with the man advantage, going 0-for-4 on Thursday and 2-for-22 for the series.
``Our line had its chances, we just weren't finding the net,'' said leading scorer Joe Thornton, who doesn't have a point in the series.
The Canadiens took a 2-0 lead at 7:39 of the second period on a three-on-two break. Richard Zednik won the puck at center ice and passed to Koivu on his left. Koivu then made a cross-ice pass to Alex Kovalev, who scored his fourth goal of the series.
Kovalev was the goat in Game 4, when after he was slashed in the second overtime he stopped playing and shook his injured wrist. He turned over the puck and then collided with teammate Sheldon Souray, which allowed Glen Murray to skate in on a breakaway and score the winning goal.
``I thought he played a really strong game except for that last play,'' Koivu said of Kovalev's Game 4 performance. ``To get the winning goal tonight takes some of the pressure of him.''
Kovalev seemed reluctant to talk about the Canadiens' previous loss.
``All I had to do was put in the same effort as the first four games and things would start happening for me,'' he said. ``One thing we wanted to do was stay focused and keep the pressure on them after we went up 2-0.''
The Canadiens almost made it 3-0 Thursday when Raycroft was caught out of position. Pierre Dagenais had a clean shot at an empty net, but Bruins forward Sergei Samsonov threw himself in front of the puck and it deflected off his body.
Zednik eventually gave Montreal a three-goal advantage 3:25 into the third period, just after the Bruins killed off a four-minute power play. Zednik took advantage of a turnover in the Bruins zone, skated in alone _ with Thornton clutching his jersey _ and backhanded the puck past Raycroft.
The Bruins finally broke through at 8:23 of the third when Nick Boynton found Murray to the right of the Montreal net and Murray slapped a shot into the open net.
``Everybody in this room is unhappy,'' Bruins forward Mike Knuble said. ``It isn't just a loss, it's an embarrassment.''
|Yanic Perreault (1) ASST: Jason Ward (2), Craig Rivet (2)|
1 - 0 MTL
|Alex Kovalev (4) ASST: Saku Koivu (4), Richard Zednik (2)|
2 - 0 MTL
|Richard Zednik (1) ASST: NONE|
3 - 0 MTL
|Glen Murray (2) ASST: Nick Boynton (2), Sergei Gonchar (3)|
3 - 1 MTL
|PPG - Saku Koivu (1) ASST: Sheldon Souray (1), Patrice Brisebois (1)|
4 - 1 MTL
|PPG - Craig Rivet (1) ASST: Saku Koivu (5), Andrei Markov (1)|
5 - 1 MTL
|Power Play %||16.5%||17.8%|
|% on Road||10.7%||14.7%|
|% at Home||22.1%||21.2%|
|Sheldon Souray Cross checking|
|Glen Murray Cross checking|
|Alex Kovalev Hooking - Obstruction|
|Jan Bulis Hooking|
|Andrei Markov Tripping|
|Joe Thornton Roughing|
|Joe Thornton Interference on goalkeeper|
|Travis Green Interference|
|Sergei Gonchar Hi-sticking|
|Joe Thornton Roughing|