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Bruins end 13-game hex against Habs

by Brian Compton and Brian Hunter

Marc Savard's overtime goal on Sunday night gave the Boston Bruins their first win over the Montreal Canadiens this season.
Highlights from the Bruins' OT win
That was the word going through the Boston Bruins’ locker room on Sunday night only moments after Marc Savard’s goal at 9:25 of overtime gave Claude Julien’s club its first win over the Montreal Canadiens this season.
With a pulsating 2-1 win over the Habs in Game 3 at the TD Banknorth Garden, the Bruins cut Montreal’s series lead in half. The teams will meet again in Game 4 on Tuesday night.
Sunday marked the second straight overtime game between the clubs. Alex Kovalev had given the Canadiens a 2-0 series lead Saturday when he beat Tim Thomas just 2:30 into the extra session.
The Habs beat the Bruins in their last three tries last season, all eight in this past regular season and the first two of their best-of-seven series.
''We got the monkey off our back after 13 losses,'' Julien said. ''The game was a lot like (Saturday) night's, but this time Lady Luck was smiling upon us.''
Thomas was brilliant in Game 3, making 27 saves for his first win of the postseason. Several of those stops came from close range, as Montreal once again peppered him late.
''We tried to build on an excellent game (Saturday) night,'' Thomas said. ''We have a lot of guys laying it on the line.''
Savard – who had two points on the night – sent the crowd into a frenzy when he gave Boston its first win over Montreal in more than 12 months. With a delayed penalty on the play, Savard took a cross-ice feed from Dennis Wideman and ripped it past Carey Price for his first goal of the postseason.
''I came on as the extra skater,'' Savard said. ''When Wideman picked it off, I yelled at the top of my lungs and luckily he saw me. One of the biggest [goals of my life]. It evens out the series and gives us a chance.”

Milan Lucic gave the Bruins their first lead over the Habs this season when he beat Thomas 6:30 into the game. With the teams at even strength, Lucic took a pass from Savard and snapped a quick shot from between the circles past Thomas for his first goal of the playoffs.
“Savard didn’t even hesitate, didn’t even look, just found me right in the slot, and I just put everything I had into it, and I found the back of the net,” Lucic said. “It’s a big weight lifted off our shoulders, but we can’t take them lightly one bit going into Tuesday.”
But Tom Kostopoulos tied things up with his second postseason tally at 4:26 of the second period. Despite being tossed to the ice, the Canadiens’ right wing was able to put a backhand shot past Thomas after collecting the puck near the goal post.
Price and Thomas each had to come up big several times before the end of regulation to send it into overtime, with Price making a couple of particularly nice glove grabs off Chara and Savard three minutes apart midway through the third.
''I knew at one point they were going to beat us,'' Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. ''We had a couple of really good chances in overtime, but Thomas played big.''

Madden OT goal lifts Devils, 4-3 | Video

The goal was probably one of the uglier ones John Madden has scored in his career. But the fact it came in overtime, in a series his New Jersey Devils trailed two games to none, made it nothing short of beautiful to those in the red, white and black.
After winning a faceoff, Madden collected a loose puck and threw it out in front, where it hit the skate of New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal and caromed past Henrik Lundqvist, giving the Devils the victory 6:01 into the extra period.
Instead of facing elimination in Game 4 on Wednesday, the Devils will return to Madison Square Garden with a chance to tie the series at 2-2 and regain home ice advantage.
“Now it’s 2-1 instead of 3-0, so it’s a significant difference,” New Jersey coach Brent Sutter said. “Yet we still just need to take it one game at a time here. Tonight was our biggest game of the year to date, and we’ll enjoy it for the next 24 hours and start focusing on our next game.”
After the Rangers controlled the third period yet again, holding a 12-5 advantage in shots and tying the game on an early power-play goal by Brandon Dubinsky, the Devils came out strong in overtime. They took six of the seven shots – not including a Brian Gionta drive that rang off the post – and were finally rewarded by just throwing the puck on net.
“That was discussed before the game actually happened – we were talking about throwing pucks at his feet and get them near the net, and good things happen,” said Madden, who picked up his second goal of the playoffs after netting 20 during the regular season. “I just threw it at the net thinking maybe we could win a battle in front of the net, and I got a really nice bounce.”
Martin Brodeur made 27 saves and the Devils also received goals from Sergei Brylin, Patrik Elias and Zach Parise. The latter two were scored just 2:23 apart on power plays that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead after two periods for New Jersey.
Dubinsky scored twice and Sean Avery connected for the third straight game in the series for the Rangers, who received 30 saves from Lundqvist. It was the first time in the last 11 games he yielded more than two goals to the Devils.

“Those first two games, the lucky breaks went our way. Today it went their way in overtime,” said Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr, who assisted on all three of his team’s goals. “Nobody said it was going to be easy. It’s going to be hard. We have to take the positive. We’re still ahead 2-1. Next game, we have to win it. That's the bottom line.”
For the first time in the series the Devils opened the scoring, although it took a video review to overrule the decision on the ice. Sergei Brylin’s goal 3:01 into the first was originally waved off, as the officials believed he had directed the puck in with his skate, but the play was ruled legal.
Dubinsky got the Rangers even at 12:17 and Avery put them in front 6:50 into the second during an extended 5-on-3 advantage. Devils defensemen Vitaly Vishnevski and Bryce Salvador took penalties 10 seconds apart and Avery got the Garden crowd rocking by beating Brodeur off a Scott Gomez feed.
But the Devils came right back, helped by a couple penalties on the Rangers. Elias gloved a loose puck down and ripped a shot past Lundqvist with 7:04 left in the second and Parise followed suit by flipping a puck off a scramble that the goalie got a piece of but couldn’t stop from going into the net. It was the first goal of the series for each player.
“We kept it simple. We didn’t change anything on our power play,” said Parise, the Devils’ leading scorer during the regular season. “We were just making sure we were getting pucks to the net, and it sounds cliché, but that’s what we need to do and that’s how we beat him tonight.”
Elias picked up a penalty during a scrum at the end of the period and it took Dubinsky just 55 seconds to erase the Devils’ lead. His goal gave the Rangers a 13-2 edge in third-period scoring between the teams in 11 games this season, but this time it didn’t lead to a victory for the Blueshirts.

Biron blanks Caps as Flyers draw even | Video

Goaltender Martin Biron stopped all 24 shots he faced for his first postseason shutout as the Philadelphia Flyers blanked the Washington Capitals 2-0.
Given another opportunity, the Philadelphia Flyers didn’t let a two-goal lead slip away this time.
The Flyers got off to a fast start Sunday afternoon on first-period goals by R.J. Umberger and Jeff Carter, then proceeded to outshoot the Washington Capitals 32-14 over the final 40 minutes. Martin Biron made 24 saves for his first postseason shutout and Philadelphia’s 2-0 victory at Verizon Center evened the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at one game apiece.
The Flyers now have the home ice advantage as the best-of-seven series shifts to the Wachovia Center for Game 3 on Tuesday.

“Everybody always says you want to split, going on the road, after the first two games,” said Biron, who finished the regular season with back-to-back shutouts. “We played really well on the road, and now we have to carry that over.”
Meanwhile, the Capitals experienced a losing effort for the first time since Chicago beat them 5-0 on Mar. 19. Bruce Boudreau’s squad then won its final seven regular season games to capture the Southeast Division title and the third seed in the Eastern Conference. They also rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the third period of Game 1 and won 5-4 on an Alexander Ovechkin goal. But the same energy and effort wasn’t there Sunday.
“We got outworked, and that doesn’t sit well in here,” center Brooks Laich said. “I think they were hungry and more desperate. They don’t want to go down 2-0 in the series, and I think they stepped their game up to the next level today and we didn’t do it.”
Ovechkin put it even more simply: “We didn’t play hard, and we didn’t play our style.”
Ovechkin, whose 65 goals in 2007-08 set a single-season record for left wings, took five shots, but came up empty against Biron. On a first-period power play the Flyers goalie kicked away his wrist shot, one of three Ovechkin took during six shifts that elapsed over 10 minutes in combined time.

“I didn’t like how much he played," Boudreau said. “He stayed on too long. It’s hard when it’s Alex. He wants to go so badly. He gets it in his head, ‘I can do it,’ and most nights he can. He looked a little tired, but he looked a little frustrated as well. He wasn't getting the puck, and they were all on him when he did touch the puck. We’ve got to give him a chance to have a mediocre game once in a while.”

The Capitals enjoyed a 10-9 advantage in shots during the first period, but the Flyers converted on a pair of scoring chances. They went ahead 1-0 at 5:53 when Braydon Coburn sent a long pass from the defensive zone up to Umberger near the Washington blue line. Umberger took advantage of a line change by the Caps to split the defense and beat goaltender Cristobal Huet high on the breakaway.

Less than 10 minutes later, Carter capitalized on an odd-man rush for a 2-0 lead. Washington defenseman Mike Green, whose two goals in the third period of Game 1 erased Philadelphia’s lead and preceded Ovechkin’s winner, turned the puck over to Mike Knuble. His shot was kicked away by Huet, but the rebound went right to Carter, who scored at 15:17 for his first career playoff goal.

The Flyers didn’t sit back after that, taking play to the Capitals and relying on Biron to make the big save when it was needed. He used the handle of his stick to deny Alexander Semin on a breakaway in the second and sprawled on his back while corralling the puck with his left arm to stop David Steckel in the third.

“He made some big saves early,” Flyers center Mike Richards said. “I think three or four of them were point-blank. When a goalie does that, it gives you opportunities and momentum.”
Biron and Philadelphia’s penalty killers also stymied Washington on all six of its power-play opportunities.

“I think we did a great job taking away a lot of the shots, their big weapons,” Biron said, “especially when we’re on the penalty kill. We got in front of a lot of pucks out there or made them pass it around instead of shooting. That’s something we did well.”

Material from wire services and team websites was used in this report.

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