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Canadiens fail to jump on Bruins early, lose in OT

by Arpon Basu

MONTREAL -- It's back to square one for the Montreal Canadiens.

Rookie Matt Fraser's goal at 1:19 of overtime gave the Boston Bruins a 1-0 victory in Game 4 on Thursday and evened the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series with the Canadiens at 2-2.

The home-ice advantage Montreal had gained by winning Game 1 in Boston is gone.

Any sense of momentum the Canadiens might have had? That's gone too.

And finally, any mental edge Montreal might have built on Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask, who entered Game 4 with an .884 save percentage in the series, is also gone.

"We are prepared for a long series," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "That was our goal, to stretch it as long as we can."

The Canadiens were in a position to perhaps make it a short series, but for the first time in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, they had a poor start to a game at the worst possible time.

After jumping out to early leads in each of the three home games they have played in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Canadiens played like a team afraid to make mistakes more so than the one that had aggressively come out of the gates in the previous games.

"We weren't sharp," Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges said. "For whatever reason we were spread out, we were chaotic, we were scattered. We weren't playing that tight game that we needed to play."

Things appeared to turn around for Montreal at 7:05 of the second period when defenseman P.K. Subban was called for the first penalty of the game. The Bruins led in shots on goal 24-15 after that power play, but the Canadiens poured it on and led 18-8 in shots from that point until the end of regulation time.

"The second half of the game, I thought we played really well. We started skating well, started moving the puck well, started to push the pace," Therrien said. "Tuukka Rask made some key saves for them."

The winning goal came after a series of bounces around Canadiens goalie Carey Price ended with the puck lying loose in his crease, where Fraser found it and whacked it in to tie the series.

After keeping the Bruins off the board for 60-plus minutes, Price was asked whether it makes it more difficult that the winning goal was scored after such a tough bounce.

"It's not tough," Price said. "You've got to regroup and realize the situation we're in. The series is tied 2-2.

"The series is best-of-3 now."

Game 5 is Saturday in Boston (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

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