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Gionta saves day again

by Shawn P. Roarke
Thanks to the heroics of Carey Price, Brian Gionta's performance was relegated to sidebar material in Thursday's huge 2-0 win for Montreal at TD Garden.

But, there is no denying the impact the Canadiens captain had on the game.

His goal, just 2:44 into the contest was not only a study in opportunism, but it gave Montreal an opportunity to go into its defensive shell and begin the process of strangling the life out of the Bruins.

Gionta then scored a goal with less than three minutes remaining, putting the game out of reach for a Boston team that could not find a way to solve Carey Price on this night.

Scott Gomez, suffering through the most unproductive year of his career, had assists on both goals as he claimed turnovers and sent Gionta on the counter attack.

"I talked to our team and you know in the playoffs your best players have to elevate their game," Montreal coach Jacques Martin said. "I thought that our top players, Gionta and Gomez elevated their game tonight."

The Canadiens, though, have become used to Gionta elevating his game when the team is in need. It's a trait that defenseman Brent Sopel picked up on almost immediately after he arrived in Montreal in late February.

"He was won a Stanley Cup and has scored many goals in New Jersey," Sopel said. "He is a little guy who doesn't give up.  He battles and battles and battles. Obviously, being a leader of this team, he leads and we all follow in his footsteps.  If we keep doing what we are doing and battling the way he does each and every night we are going to be OK."
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