BOSTON -- The Montreal Canadiens came into TD Garden looking to advance to the Eastern Conference Final by knocking their biggest rival out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and for the respect that comes with such a victory.
They definitely did the first; they think the way they played means they should have the second.
Goalie Carey Price made 29 saves, and Dale Weise, Max Pacioretty and Daniel Briere scored in the Canadiens' 3-1 victory against the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on Wednesday.
"To be able to do that accomplishment, to beat the Boston Bruins in Game 7 in their building, I believe those guys have earned some respect," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said of his players. "The respect, you've got to earn it, and I thought [Wednesday night], those guys earned it."
Montreal trailed 3-2 in the best-of-7 series after losing 4-2 in Game 5, but Price allowed one goal in the final 125:58, which featured his 26-save shutout in Game 6. He had a shutout streak of 103:46 snapped when Bruins forward Jarome Iginla scored in the second period Wednesday.
"He's on a whole other level right now," Pacioretty said of Price.
Price's level helped the Canadiens return to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2010, when they were knocked out in five games by the Philadelphia Flyers. Montreal will face the New York Rangers for the 15th time in the playoffs, but it's the first meeting between the Original Six clubs since 1996.
Game 1 will be Saturday at Bell Centre (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), where Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist hasn't played in since Jan. 15, 2012 or won since March 17, 2009.
"Especially for the guys that have been here and were there in that run in 2010 and who were there when we lost Game 7 [to Boston in the 2011 Conference Quarterfinals], we're just sick and tired of it," Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban said. "Sick and tired of people disrespecting us and not giving us the credit that we deserve. We're a good group of guys in here. We're a character group and I think we earned a lot of respect [Wednesday]."
Iginla scored a power-play goal late in the second period to halve Montreal's 2-0 lead, but Briere scored a power-play goal with 2:53 remaining in regulation with a shot that went in off Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
Briere, who also assisted on Weise's goal 2:18 into the first period that gave Montreal a 1-0 lead, has three goals and four assists in five Game 7s. He was a healthy scratch in Game 5.
"I've had some good moments in this building: the comeback with the Flyers, down 0-3," Briere said, referring to the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals, when his Flyers erased a 3-0 deficit and won Game 7 in Boston. "But this one, I grew up hating the Boston Bruins, so personally it was very special."
The Bruins had their chances to tie the game before Briere scored. Iginla was close with 15:37 left in the third period, but his backhand off a rebound hit the left post and caromed away.
Boston's top line of Iginla, David Krejci and Milan Lucic had a nearly 90-second shift in the offensive zone shortly before the 10-minute mark of the third, but Price made two saves before covering the puck for a faceoff.
Montreal got a power-play opportunity with 4:31 remaining when Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk was called for interference on Canadiens forward Michael Bournival. The Canadiens, who were 0-for-4 with one shot on goal on the power play to that point, didn't let this one go to waste.
"It's their home building, they had a great crowd and their backs are against the wall, they're in desperation mode and they definitely got the better of us toward the end of the game," Pacioretty said. "That goal by Danny is huge and obviously that was the deal-breaker, but I think you can point the finger to everyone being positive on the bench, the coaches included, and making sure that we had confidence. I think that allowed that to happen."
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 15 saves. The Bruins scored six goals in their four losses.
"We did have a great team, but it goes to prove again that winning the regular season doesn't mean anything," Rask said. "[We] played a pretty decent first series [against the Detroit Red Wings], and this series we didn't take that next step and improve our game. That's it. That's just the reality and we have to live with it."
The Canadiens took a 2-0 lead when Pacioretty scored on a one-timer from the right circle off a feed from David Desharnais at 10:22 of the second period. It was the result of a 31-second shift spent entirely in the Boston zone after Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller was guilty of icing.
Brendan Gallagher won the ensuing faceoff cleanly from Patrice Bergeron and the Canadiens were able to keep the puck in thanks to Desharnais and Gallagher. The Bruins helped; Loui Eriksson whiffed on a clearing attempt and Bergeron did the same, leading to a quick 2-on-1 for Desharnais and Pacioretty. Desharnais sent a rolling pass to Pacioretty, who got all of his shot from the right circle to beat Rask on the blocker side.
Pacioretty also scored in Game 6 after scoring once in his first nine playoff games.
"As soon as I see [Desharnais] with it, we know what we're doing," Pacioretty said. "I'm faking like I'm going to the net, and then I'm stopping and the defenseman backs up a bit and he gives me a wide-open net. It's one of those things that linemates are doing work for me and I'm fortunate to put it in the back of the net."
Weise gave Montreal a 1-0 lead 2:18 into the game. The team that scored first was 7-0 in the series.
"The first goal definitely sucked the energy out of us and it was hard to get it back," Bergeron said. "Bottom line, we've got to execute and score. We've definitely got to give them some credit where they deserve it, but we've got to be better."
Maybe they will be next season. For now, it's the Canadiens moving on, and demanding respect from everybody, including the Bruins.
"There's nothing better than shutting up everybody here," Subban said.
|Dale Weise (3) Tip-in - ASST: Daniel Briere (4), Brandon Prust (2)|
1 - 0 MTL
|Max Pacioretty (3) Snap shot - ASST: David Desharnais (4), Brendan Gallagher (4)|
2 - 0 MTL
|PPG - Jarome Iginla (5) Tip-in - ASST: Torey Krug (8), David Krejci (4)|
2 - 1 MTL
|PPG - Daniel Briere (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Brendan Gallagher (5), Nathan Beaulieu (2)|
3 - 1 MTL
|Brad Marchand Interference on goalkeeper against Carey Price|
|Zdeno Chara Holding against Max Pacioretty|
|Max Pacioretty Holding against Zdeno Chara|
|Zdeno Chara Holding against Rene Bourque|
|Brad Marchand Unsportsmanlike conduct|
|Lars Eller Interference against David Krejci|
|Max Pacioretty Holding the stick against Dougie Hamilton|
|David Krejci Holding the stick against Lars Eller|
|Johnny Boychuk Interference against Michael Bournival|
|Andrei Markov Interference against David Krejci|