BOSTON (AP) _ Maybe Patrice Bergeron and Andrew Raycroft are just too young
to realize that the Boston Bruins aren't supposed to do this to the Canadiens.
The two rookies combined to help Boston beat Montreal 2-1 on Friday night.
Bergeron scored 1:26 into overtime to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead in the
best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series. The 18-year-old French
Canadian has been a part of three of the Bruins' five goals in the series.
``In our dressing room, I don't know if anyone looks at him as a rookie.
Both him and Andrew, they have a certain maturity level,'' Bruins coach Mike
``(Bergeron) has done nothing but impress us all year long. From Day 1, he
just raised eyebrows. He really understands the game for a guy his age. For
most of us, it takes a couple hundred games to figure it out.''
Two of the NHL's Original Six teams, the Bruins and Canadiens have a
long-running animosity that, in its time, was at least the equal of the Red
Sox-Yankees rivalry that bedevils Boston these days. And this one is almost as
one-sided: Montreal has won 23 Stanley Cups to five for Boston, and of the 29
playoff series between them Montreal has won 22, including a first-round ouster
two years ago after the Bruins finished the regular season with the
conference's best record.
Boston is a similar favorite this year, earning the East's second seed and
home-ice advantage for at least the first two rounds. And this time, they're
making good use of it.
Raycroft, who shut out the Canadiens 3-0 on Wednesday in his first NHL
playoff game, stopped 25 shots in Game 2. Michael Nylander scored Boston's
first goal and set up Bergeron for the winner with a nice tap-pass in the
neutral zone to sent him toward the net without breaking stride.
Bergeron stick-handled toward the net and made a fake _ or maybe a stumble _
between the circles, then took a screened shot that went off Jose Theodore's
glove before trickling into the net.
``He's a 30-year-old in an 18-year-old's body,'' said Raycroft, who is only
23 himself. ``For him to come across the middle like that was a perfect play.''
Jose Theodore made 17 saves, and Patrice Brisebois had the Canadiens' only
goal. The series moves to Montreal for Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and Tuesday.
``This was our best effort. We should be proud of ourselves the way we
played,'' Montreal forward Alex Kovalev said. ``Now we have the home advantage
and if we play like we did, we should be OK.''
Joe Thornton, who did not practice on Thursday because of what the team will
only describe as ``an upper body injury,'' played his regular shift but did not
figure in any of the scoring. The Bruins suffered a setback when forward Ted
Donato broke his foot blocking a shot in the first period; he is expected to
miss four weeks.
``We were undermanned,'' Sullivan said. ``The longer it went on, it would
have been a challenge for us.''
The Bruins set an NHL record in the regular season with 30 overtime games,
and this one headed that way early on.
With Nylander heading to the net, Bergeron crossed a pass to him and he
easily beat Theodore 15:22 into the first.
Montreal tied it on some crisp passing in the second period, just 33 seconds
after Thornton was sent off for slashing to give the Canadiens a two-man
advantage. The goal ended a 95:54 scoreless drought in the series for Montreal.
Montreal had a chance to take the lead with about five minutes left in
regulation, but Jan Bulis backhanded the first try over the net while Raycroft
was out of position. After a scramble, Bulis had another shot, but he put this
one into Raycroft's chest.