Someone forgot to tell Carey Price
he’s supposed to have rookie jitters in his first NHL playoff series. The 20-year-old goaltender has the Montreal Canadiens
on the verge of advancing to the second round.
Price outdueled Boston’s Tim Thomas
on Tuesday night, making 27 saves in Montreal’s 1-0 victory at TD Banknorth Garden. Patrice Brisebois
, the only player on the roster who was part of Montreal’s last Stanley Cup championship team in 1993, scored the game’s only goal, giving the Canadiens a 3-1 series lead and a chance to wrap up their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at home on Thursday night.
Price improved to 15-4 since taking over the No. 1 job when Cristobal Huet
was dealt to Washington at the trading deadline.
''He's been playing really well since December,'' Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau
said. ''I think from that point on, (GM) Bob (Gainey) knew he would come through in the playoffs. He's been everything we expected and keeps getting better.
Boston hasn’t won at the Bell Centre in six tries this season. The Bruins, in the playoffs for just the fourth time since 1999, are one loss away from being eliminated in the first round for the third straight time.
"It's pretty simple," Bruins coach Claude Julien
said. "We just need to go to Montreal and play one game. You don't look at the fact that you have to win the next three, because it is too big of a picture. It sounds like a cliché ... but it's one game at a time.”
The Canadiens, who have trailed just once in winning 10 of 11 games against the Bruins this season, scored with 42 seconds left in the second period. Andre Kostitsyn skated behind the Boston net and fed the puck just in front of the crease, where it deflected off Thomas and went right to Brisebois. He scored with a screened blast from the top of the left circle — the only shot to beat Thomas who also made 27 saves.
“It was at the end, I guess, and guys tried to block it, and [Brisebois] just pushed it forward, and they scored,” Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara said. “Unfortunately, that was the goal that decided it.”
Price, who has allowed just five goals in the four games against Boston, did the rest, keeping the Bruins off the board in the third period. Boston rookie David Krejci had the best chance in the final minute, but missed the open right side of the net. The Bruins controlled play down the stretch by had just one shot on goal in the final seven minutes.
''I couldn't even write down on paper the effort the guys put in defensively in the last 10 minutes,'' Price said.
Price, the fifth overall pick in the 2005 Entry Draft, is trying to become the third rookie goalie to lead the Canadiens to a Stanley Cup, following Ken Dryden in 1971 and Patrick Roy in 1986. Roy was also in goal for the Canadiens’ last Cup 15 years ago.
''He's in a zone,'' said Carbonneau, who was part of that 1993 team. ''He's really strong mentally.''
The rookie stopped two solid chances in the second period before Brisebois scored. At 10:55 he got in front of Glen Murray's point-blank shot after a slick setup by Marc Savard. Six minutes later, he stopped a shot by Glen Metropolit from the top of the crease as the Bruins swarmed the net.
''He's a great goalie,'' Metropolit said. ''He's poised. He did well tonight getting to the rebounds and pushing them out to the side.''
Murray also had an excellent chance in the scoreless first period. About 30 seconds after the opening faceoff, he was alone in front but redirected his shot wide.
The Bruins find themselves one game from elimination in a series in which they’ve allowed only nine goals.
“Obviously, it’s not fun to lose,” said defenseman Andrew Ference, who was in the penalty box when Brisebois scored. “In a good hockey game, when both teams play well, somebody’s got to win, and somebody’s got to lose, so you feel a little down because it didn’t work.”
Briere leads Flyers past Capitals | Video
The Stanley Cup Playoffs were supposed to be Alex Ovechkin’s time to shine.
Someone forgot to tell Daniel Briere.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ free-agent prize from last July scored two more goals and added an assist to lift his club to a 6-3 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal at the Wachovia Center on Tuesday night. The Flyers lead the series 2-1 and can push Washington against the wall by winning Game 4 at home on Thursday night.
|Daniel Briere continued his torrid play in the postseason on Tuesday night by scoring two goals and adding an assist in a 6-3 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 3.
Briere, who signed an eight-year, $52 million contract with the Flyers last summer, has four goals and six points in the first three games of this series. The early-season boos he heard from the Philly faithful during a 72-point season — down from 95 with Buffalo in 2006-07 — have become a distant memory.
''The playoffs are extra special,'' said Briere, who reached the Eastern Conference Finals with the Sabres last spring. ''I'm not going to lie about it, there's a little extra there.''
The first period was relatively quiet until the teams erupted for four goals late. Briere broke a scoreless tie when he took a pass from Vaclav Prospal and ripped a shot from the right circle past Cristobal Huet to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead.
The lead didn’t last long, as Eric Fehr tied the game with his first playoff goal just 1:11 later. After some gritty forechecking behind the net by the Capitals, Fehr one-timed Donald Brashear’s feed past Martin Biron to make it 1-1.
Sixty-four seconds later, though, the Flyers regained the lead, when Scott Hartnell took a pass from Prospal and blasted a one-timer from the right circle past Huet. Sami Kapanen put the Flyers up by a pair 17 seconds later when he capitalized on a horrid giveaway by Capitals defenseman Milan Jurcina and quickly fired a shot past Huet to make it 3-1.
''That was a great thrill the way the crowd was early on, and it certainly played a big role,'' Briere said.
The Capitals got back into it early in the second period, as Mike Green scored on the power play at 7:28. With Derian Hatcher in the penalty box, Green took a pass from Alexander Semin and fired a slap shot from just inside the right point past Biron to make it 3-2. It was Green’s third goal of the series.
But Briere struck again just before the conclusion of the second period. With the Flyers on a power play, Briere took a nifty feed from Mike Richards and poked it past Huet near the far goal post as Philly regained its two-goal lead.
''Danny had a twinkle in his eye,'' Flyers coach John Stevens said. ''He looked like a player who was going to play the way he did.''
Masterton Trophy candidate Brooks Laich got Washington back within one again when he scored his first playoff goal with 4:34 left in regulation, redirecting Shaone Morrison’s shot past Biron to make it 4-3.
But Richards sent the capacity crowd into a frenzy less than two minutes. After being hauled down by Green on a breakaway, Richards beat Huet on a penalty shot to give the Flyers a 5-3 lead. Mike Knuble sealed the deal with an empty-net tally.
''We put a good show on for them tonight,'' Prospal, who had three assists, said of the sellout crowd at the Wachovia Center. ''They showed us the emotion and the energy and we fed off that.''
The Flyers also fed off their defense, which did another superb job of shutting down Hart Trophy candidate Ovechkin. The Russian star was held without a point and was limited to four shots on goal in nearly 25 minutes of ice time.
''I just think they're zoning in on our top line,'' Green said. ''Every time those guys touch the puck, they're getting hit. Not only that, but we've got to find it within us to battle through that.''
Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media was used in this report.