BOSTON – It was the biggest goal of his life in a moment he will never forget.
|Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price, bottom right, skates off the ice as the Boston Bruins surround Nathan Horton after he scored the game-winning goal during the second overtime period in Game 5 of a first-round NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoff series in Boston, Saturday, April 23, 2011. The Bruins won 3-2 and take a 3-2 lead in the series. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) |
’s double-overtime, game winning, second career playoff goal was arguably the biggest tally for the Bruins this season.
Horton’s snipe came 9:03 into the second overtime period and propelled the Bruins to their series lead, 3-2, with a 2-1 victory.
“I saw the rebound, we had control of the puck, and I saw the rebound come out. It was. It was like it’s in slow motion. It was just sitting there. I’ll tell you, it felt good to put that in the net,” Horton said.
“Obviously winning the game, it was a pretty special moment.”
The game was a tight one all the way through, with Boston breaking the goal line first.
The Bruins opening strike came just under five minutes into the final regulation frame when Brad Marchand netted his first goal of the postseason. The tally gave the Bruins a lift as they had battled hard through the first two periods with nothing to show for it.
But the goal didn’t quiet the Canadiens who came out blazing after Marchand’s goal. It was Jeff Halpern who gave Montreal life again in the third with his first goal of the postseason at 13:56.
“Yeah it was very exciting. It was nice to get the monkey off the back. It took a little while but it was nice just to kind of, again I was just pretty excited about it,” Marchand said of scoring his first postseason goal.
“Yeah, it’s always nice to get that. I know Horty’s a little frustrated. He’s getting so many opportunities and it wasn’t going in, and same for me. So it was nice to kind of chip in,” he added.
“The team hasn’t needed us the last few games, but it was nice to kind of help out and chip in there for a couple goals. But hopefully now a few more will go in.”
The entire contest largely consisted of back and forth rushes between the two squads, with only six penalties being assessed between the teams (two of which were matching roughing whistles).
Carey Price made some key saves to keep Montreal in the game, and Tim Thomas did the same for Boston—albeit with a little assistance from Michael Ryder.
The Canadiens broke into a three-on-two rush in the first period and sniped a shot of Thomas’ blocker. Thomas skidded to the ice after making the save as Montreal collected the rebound and shot another one towards the empty Boston net.
But it was Ryder, a former champion ball hockey goaltender, who made the glove save keeping Boston from going down a goal early.
“It was something like a two on one, three on one, and our D went over and they just made a pass in front and I knew Timmy was out of position and I tried blocking any way I can, and ended up getting the glove on it,” Ryder said of the stop.
His goaltender was certainly impressed.
“That was awesome. And I was actually turned around, I got to watch it pretty good,” Thomas said.
“That was a huge save and in this type of game that’s a game-breaker.”
Heading into overtime, the style of the game didn’t change much as both teams had solid scoring opportunities and both goaltenders continued to stand on their heads.
“Carey [Price] played a very good game, he made some really good saves. My job, like I’ve said it before, I’m not really playing against Carey so to speak,” said Thomas.
“But tonight I was in a way. Just because whenever he made saves, I had to make sure I made the saves because it was such a tight game.”
Perhaps the last defining moment in a game full of highlight-reel caliber plays came early in the second overtime when Thomas sprawled across the crease to make a leg-flying save on a Brian Gionta breakaway.
“I was out pretty far so I had to make sure I started to get my backward momentum going so I could play both the shot and the pass. And I was just barely had enough speed to be able to make that push over on the pass,” Thomas said of the save.
“And I was just fortunate enough to get a leg out and cover that part of the net.”
The Bruins will look to close the series out with a fourth victory on Tuesday night in the Bell Centre.
“We need to go to Montreal with the intentions of winning that game and playing to win that game. We need to understand it’s probably going to be the toughest game of the series,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said of Game 6.
“When teams are playing for their lives they come out with their best effort.
“And we have to be ready for that.”