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Boston Bruins vs. Montr?al Canadiens @NHLdotcom
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GAME: Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens.

PLAYOFF SERIES: Eastern Conference quarterfinal; Bruins lead 3-2.

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EDT.

Two years ago, Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore was outstanding when eighth-seeded Montreal eliminated top-seeded Boston in the first round of the playoffs.

If the Canadiens are going to pull off another upset of the Bruins, Theodore will have to match his performance from Game 5 in this series.

Montreal looks to stave off elimination for the second straight game when it meets Boston in Game 6 at the Bell Centre.

The Canadiens dramatically gave away Game 4 on Tuesday to fall behind 3-1 in the series, but they avoided being ousted from the playoffs with a 5-1 win Thursday in Game 5 at Boston.

On Tuesday, Montreal needed only to close out the final minute to send the series back to Boston at 2-all, but Bruins forward Mike Knuble forced overtime when instant replay showed his deflection barely crossed the goal line with 31 seconds left in regulation.

The teams played a scoreless first extra period, and in the second overtime, Montreal's Alex Kovalev committed a huge mistake that led to Glen Murray scoring the winning goal for Boston at 9:27.

After being slashed by Travis Green, Kovalev was shaking his hand in an attempt to draw a penalty and lost sight of the puck. Canadiens defenseman Sheldon Souray tried to grab the loose puck, but collided with Kovalev. Murray swooped in and beat Theodore with a wrist shot for a 4-3 victory that put the Bruins up 3-1 in the series.

Kovalev and Theodore, however, were instrumental in helping the Canadiens win Thursday. Theodore made 43 saves and Kovalev scored Montreal's second goal, the game winner.

"We've been through a lot of situations like this, tests of our team chemistry and unity," Montreal coach Claude Julien said. "The guys weren't rattled by what happened or what was said."

Theodore went 30-24-10 with a 2.11 goals-against average in winning the Hart Trophy as league MVP in the 2001-02 season. In the first-round of the playoffs that season, giving up one goal in both Games 5 and 6 as Montreal completed the upset of Boston.

And on Thursday, he was a big reason why the Canadiens extended their season 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 when Yanic Perreault's shot deflected off Andrew 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 Montreal captain Saku Koivu, who had a goal and an assist.

Boston outshot Montreal 44-30, but the Bruins couldn't solve Theodore until Murray scored at 8:23 of the third period.

"Our line had its chances, we just weren't finding the net," said Bruins leading scorer Joe Thornton, who doesn't have a point in the series.

The Bruins continued to struggle on the power play, going 0-for-4 on Thursday and 2-for-22 for the series.

"Everybody in this room is unhappy," Knuble said. "It isn't just a loss, it's an embarrassment."

Game 7, if necessary, is Monday at Boston.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Bruins - 104 points; 2nd seed. Canadiens - 93 points; 7th seed.

PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Bruins - Michael Nylander, 3 goals; Sergei Samsonov, 5 assists; Nylander and Samsonov, 5 points; Thornton, 14 PIM. Canadiens - Kovalev, 4 goals; Koivu, 5 assists and 6 points; Koivu and Souray, 8 PIM.

PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Bruins - Power play: 9.1 percent (2 for 22). Penalty killing: 88.0 percent (22 for 25). Canadiens - Power play: 12.0 percent (3 for 25). Penalty killing: 90.9 percent (20 for 22).

GOALTENDERS: Bruins - Raycroft (3-2, 1 SO, 2.19 GAA); Felix Potvin (no appearances). Canadiens - Theodore (2-3, 2.18); Mathieu Garon (no appearances).

Associated Press
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