Bruins’ David Krejci celebrates a goal by teammate Phil Kessel during the second period on Thursday night at the Bell Centre. Pierre Obendrauf, The Gazette
A pair of rookie mistakes in the third period cost the Canadiens a chance to wrap up their first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
With the game tied 1-1 in the third period, Carey price, who had been stellar up to this point in the series, handed the Bruins the lead when he tried to play the puck to a teammate only to have it intercepted by a Boston player and Glen Metropolit batted the puck into an open net for a 2-1 Boston lead.
Moments after the goal, Sergei Kostitsyn took an undisciplined penalty in the offensive zone.
Zdeno Chara scored the Bruins’ second power-play goal of the game 5:49 into the third period for a 3-1 Boston lead and the Bruins coasted the rest of the way for a 5-1 win and narrowed the Canadiens’ lead in the series to 3-2 and force Game 6 Saturday night in Boston.
Marco Sturm added Boston’s fourth goal while shorthanded at the 15:13 mark of the final frame and Vladimir Sobotka made Price look silly with a shot from a bad angle that Price misplayed at 17:48.
Phil Kessel, who was a healthy scratch for the last three games for the Bruins, scored on the power play 7:45 into the second period when he grabbed his own rebound and beat Price between the legs.
Things had started well for the Canadiens, who grabbed a 1-0 lead on a nifty goal by Alex Kovalev 9:47 into the opening period.
Kovalev, who had lost his helmet and had his golden mane flowing like Guy Lafleur decades ago, got the goal on a backhand shot that eluded Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas between the legs.
Patrice Brisebois and Roman Hamrlik got the assists on the goal. It was a fourth point in the postseason for both Brisebois and Kovalev, who are tied for the team scoring lead.
The goal was scored while each team had a man in the penalty box after Marco Sturm got called for interference on Sergei Kostitsyn, who was called for diving on the play 8:34 into the period.
The Bruins nearly tied the game with only seconds to go when a shot got past Price and hit the post. The puck was lying in the crease and price was able to swat it away from behind his back with his stick to keep the Bruins off the scoreboard.
Guillaume Latendresse and Maxim Lapierre had an excellent scoring chance during a 2-on-1 break with 2:30 left in the second period, but didn’t even get a shot on net when Latendresse tried to feed Lapierre and had the play broken up by a Bruins defender.
The Canadiens continued to be absolutely ineffective on the power play, including two man advantages in the final 10 minutes of the game that would have allowed the Canadiens to try and mount a comeback. The Canadiens were 0-for-4 with on the power play and have scored only two goals with the man advantage during the series.
Boston was 2-for-5 with the man advantage and their play while shorthanded throughout the series has been a huge difference maker.
The only place the Canadiens beat the Bruins was on the shot clock, outshooting Boston 31-24.