NHL playoffs: Wins for Bruins, Kings
BOSTON — Three years ago, the Boston Bruins dropped the first two games of their first-round playoff series to the rival Montreal Canadiens at home.
They roared back, winning the series in seven games en route to the Stanley Cup.
On Saturday, the Bruins were just over nine minutes away from digging another 0-2 hole against the Habs, trailing by two goals. But as has been the case so often in this year’s NHL playoffs — and for the second time in this series — the two-goal lead disappeared.
“When you’re down two goals, you really don’t have anywhere else to go,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said after a wild comeback gave the Bruins a 5-3 win to even the Eastern Conference semifinal. “Just, you’ve got to push for it, and that’s what we did — and we were able to come back.”
Down 3-1 after right winger/Bruins killer Tomas Vanek’s second power-play goal of the game, 6:30 into the third period, the Bruins got goals from defenseman Dougie Hamilton, center Patrice Bergeron and right winger Reilly Smith in a 5:32 span to pull it out. Left winger Milan Lucic hit the empty net with 1:06 left, capping a third-period rally by a team that’s been great in the third all year.
“We know we are capable of doing that, but I don’t think that we want to be in that position every time we go into the third,” said Chara, who assisted on the winner and was a plus-five on the day.
The Bruins, who rallied from being down 2-0 in the first game before losing in double overtime, made it tough on themselves on Saturday, which quieted TD Garden. But Hamilton scored off a pass from center Patrice Bergeron and Bergeron then scored from the right boards — the first three goals deflecting off Montreal defensemen (two off Francis Bouillon) and past Carey Price.
Price stole the first game with 48 saves and then became the loser when Smith scored his second goal of the series, with 3:32 remaining, giving Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask his first home win in 10 career home games against the Canadiens.
It was the first loss in six playoff games for Price and his team.
“It’s just a couple of breakdowns,” Montreal captain Brian Gionta said. “We’ve got to find ways, when we have the lead, to finish it off.”
Said defenseman P.K. Subban, the Game 1 hero who had two assists on Saturday: “We have to manage the puck better and do smarter things out there. Nine minutes left in the game, we have to shut it down.”
Games 3 and 4 are in Montreal Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Kings 3, Ducks 2 (OT)
Marian Gaborik scored the tying goal late in the third period and netted the winning tally 12:07 into overtime as visiting Los Angeles claimed the opener of its Western Conference second-round series.
After knotting the contest with seven seconds remaining in regulation, Gaborik - who also had an assist - redirected a pass from the top of the slot by Anze Kopitar off Jonas Hiller and in from the left of the crease to cap his second two-goal effort of the postseason. Defenseman Alec Martinez added a power-play goal, Kopitar collected three assists and Jonathan Quick made 33 saves as the Kings posted their fifth straight victory.
Matt Beleskey and Teemu Selanne tallied for the Pacific Division-champion Ducks, who host Game 2 on Monday. Captain Ryan Getzlaf set up both goals and Hiller turned aside 33 shots.
Fresh off their historic first-round comeback against San Jose, the Kings struck first as Martinez pinched from the left point and buried a backhand pass by Gaborik from the right post during a power play 9:04 into the contest. The lead lasted less than three minutes, however, has Getzlaf carried the puck down the right side and drew Quick out of position before setting up Beleskey on the doorstep for an easy conversion.
With the contest still even, Patrick Maroon skated down the slot while being defended by Matt Greene and gave the puck to Selanne, who came streaking down the right side and tapped a backhander past Quick at 8:08 of the third. Los Angeles refused to quit, as Gaborik knocked the rebound of Mike Richards’ shot between Hiller’s pads from the doorstep to force overtime.