(Allen McInnis/The Gazette)
The Canadiens had a 3-1 lead over the Bruins in the third period Tuesday, just like they did in Game 2 in Boston.
Only this time the Canadiens managed to stave off the Bruins, who made it a nerve-wracking third period for Habs fans when they narrowed the score to 3-2 with less than three minutes left in the game.
“We learned a little bit from the last game. We didn’t panic,” said Lars Eller who scored an empty net goal with a few seconds left on the clock.
“You know they’re going to come hard when you’re down by two. They don’t care if they lose by three or four. So they gave it all they got and we were prepared for it. And in the end we held strong,” Eller said.
Coach Michel Therrien said he liked the way the Canadiens played in the third period, allowing only seven shots.
“This is something we did well all year long, playing with the lead and making sure we finished the job,” Therrien said.
“Again tonight guys were battling really hard, paying the price, blocking shots. And Carey (Price) made some key saves at the right time so it was a good team effort.”
The Canadiens blocked 29 shots.
Eller set up P.K. Subban for the Canadiens’ second goal in the first period when he passed to the defenceman after he left the penalty box and went in alone on Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.
Eller made a good play and found him cutting through the neutral zone, Subban said.
“I just went in on Tuukka. To be honest with you, I was pretty surprised and a little bit nervous. He’s a really good goalie. I just tried to bury my head and make a move and the puck went in for me,” said Subban, who also picked up an assist on Tomas Plekanec’s goal. Subban leads the Habs in the playoffs with 11 points.
Thomas Vanek played on Plekanec’s line and Brendan Gallagher was moved to David Desharnais’ line with Max Pacioretty.
Therrien said in the last 10 games, dating back before the playoffs, the team wasn’t scoring enough at even strength.
“We decided to make a change–bring probably a little bit more energy to every line. And I liked the result of this because Gallagher is a guy that brings energy to every line that he plays on. And Vanek made a helluva play on that first goal. So I was pleased with the change.”
You can hear more of what Subban had to say after the game here:
You can listen to Lars Eller here:
And you can watch Carey Price here:
(Video: Brenda Branswell)