BOSTON (AP) _ Montreal Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore was often overshadowed
by Bruins counterpart Andrew Raycroft in the first four games of their
first-round playoff series.
Theodore, a former NHL MVP, re-established himself on Thursday night as a
player to watch.
Theodore made 43 saves, and Saku Koivu had a goal and two assists in helping
the Canadiens stay alive with 5-1 victory over the Bruins. The Canadiens trail
the best-of-seven series 3-2 and host Game 6 on Saturday night.
And Theodore is a big reason why their season is still going as he turned
aside Boston's relentless pressure for the first 15 minutes.
``We all knew they were going to come out really strong, and they did
that,'' Theodore said. ``They had the momentum, they were throwing the hits,
and they were getting a lot of shots.''
But it was the Canadiens who scored first, tallying on a quick counterattack
at 5:43 of the first period. Jason Ward sent Yanic Perreault in alone, and his
shot deflected off of Raycroft's pads and inside the far post.
``In the first 15 minutes of the first period, Jose made some key saves and
Yanic came up big,'' said Koivu, who had a hand in both of Montreal's
He scored on a rebound with 8:44 left in the third period to make it 4-1
when the Canadiens had a two-man advantage. Koivu also assisted on Craig
Rivet's power-play goal with 6:34 remaining that made it 5-1.
Rivet beat Raycroft with a long slap shot.
``I don't think we were there mentally,'' Raycroft said.
The Bruins continued to struggle with the man advantage, going 0-for-4 on
Thursday and 2-for-22 for the series.
``Our line had its chances, we just weren't finding the net,'' said leading
scorer Joe Thornton, who doesn't have a point in the series.
The Canadiens took a 2-0 lead at 7:39 of the second period on a three-on-two
break. Richard Zednik won the puck at center ice and passed to Koivu on his
left. Koivu then made a cross-ice pass to Alex Kovalev, who scored his fourth
goal of the series.
Kovalev was the goat in Game 4, when after he was slashed in the second
overtime he stopped playing and shook his injured wrist. He turned over the
puck and then collided with teammate Sheldon Souray, which allowed Glen Murray
to skate in on a breakaway and score the winning goal.
``I thought he played a really strong game except for that last play,''
Koivu said of Kovalev's Game 4 performance. ``To get the winning goal tonight
takes some of the pressure of him.''
Kovalev seemed reluctant to talk about the Canadiens' previous loss.
``All I had to do was put in the same effort as the first four games and
things would start happening for me,'' he said. ``One thing we wanted to do was
stay focused and keep the pressure on them after we went up 2-0.''
The Canadiens almost made it 3-0 Thursday when Raycroft was caught out of
position. Pierre Dagenais had a clean shot at an empty net, but Bruins forward
Sergei Samsonov threw himself in front of the puck and it deflected off his
Zednik eventually gave Montreal a three-goal advantage 3:25 into the third
period, just after the Bruins killed off a four-minute power play. Zednik took
advantage of a turnover in the Bruins zone, skated in alone _ with Thornton
clutching his jersey _ and backhanded the puck past Raycroft.
The Bruins finally broke through at 8:23 of the third when Nick Boynton
found Murray to the right of the Montreal net and Murray slapped a shot into
the open net.
``Everybody in this room is unhappy,'' Bruins forward Mike Knuble said. ``It
isn't just a loss, it's an embarrassment.''