BOSTON - The Bruins were staring at a two-goal deficit and in 10 minutes, a two-game hole in their series against the Canadiens.
But then something happened: They cracked Carey Price.
Price, who had stopped shot after shot in Games 1 and 2 had undoubtedly left the Bruins scratching their heads on what it would take to get past him.
But not anymore. The Bruins came back from down 3-1 in the third period to beat the Canadiens 5-3 and even the series as it heads to Montreal.
It was a Patrice Bergeron wrist shot from the side boards that deflected off Canadiens defenseman Francis Bouillon and past Price for the tying goal, and just over two minutes later Reilly Smith blasted a wrist shot past Price off a pass from Brad Marchand that gave Boston a lead it would hold. Milan Lucic added an empty-netter for the final tally.
The game was physical from the start, as penalties were handed out to Torey Krug for roughing, and Rene Bourque for cross-checking.
It wasn't the only trip to the box for either team in the period, either. Eight penalties in total were called in the first period. One of them, a hooking call on Jordan Caron was a bit questionable, as Alexei Emelin sold it in dramatic fashion, flailing to the ground.
But the Bruins penalty kill was strong early on, and they killed that penalty off as well as another on Dougie Hamilton later in the period.
Canadiens' defenseman P.K. Subban had to leave the game for a bit after appearing to cut his hand on Brad Marchand's skate. He would eventually return in the period.
The Bruins had 13 shots in the first period to the Canadiens' six, and while not all of them were as good as their looks in Game 1, Carey Price made a number of outstanding saves, picking right up where he left off. One early in the game came on a Jordan Caron redirect right in front of the next off a feed from Patrice Bergeron along the right side.
But unlike in Game 1, Price was beaten in the first period.
Off a turnover in the neutral zone, Andrej Meszaros, who started in place of Matt Bartkowski (healthy scratch) intentionally shot it wide of the net from blue line. The puck found Carl Soderberg near the right face-off circle who rifled a great pass to Daniel Paille in front of net for the wrist shot. The shot was tipped on the way by by Francis Bouillon and past Price.
The Bruins had their first lead of the series, and they would hold it for the remainder of the first period.
Tuukka Rask faced just six shots in the period, but made two huge pad saves.
He wouldn't get to Mike Weaver's shot in time just over a minute in to the second period, although it really wasn't his fault.
Brad Marchand skated up the ice with the puck as the B's went for a line change. Instead of dumping it in the Canadiens' zone, Marchand lost it, and the Canadiens' had themselves a rush towards the net with the Bruins in a messy change-up.
Having never found time to set up in their defensive end, the Canadiens worked the puck to Weaver for the slapshot through traffic - including Habs left wing Brandon Prust - that got by Rask.
And from there, things seemed to go downhill for the Bruins. Of course, it didn't help matters that Price was a brick wall in net.
He saved a Jarome Iginla slap shot, and on the same offensive attack saved another Milan Lucic tip in front.
With the Bruins on the power play, Price stopped Bergeron's bid on a nice feed from Carl Soderberg. And then Price did it again on Bergeron, followed by a slapshot by Krug that he tuned away.
Later, it was Lucic all alone in front dangling with the puck, but Price wasn't fooled in what was probably his best save of the game.
Then the B's got into trouble in the penalty box. Emelin sprayed some snow in Rask's face With Krug to the box for his second roughing penalty of the night, and Canadiens' Lars Eller going with him for unsportsmanlike conduct, both teams were set for 4-on-4 hockey. Seconds into it, Meszaros got called for roughing along the boards, and the Canadiens had themselves a 4-on-3.
The Bruins could not clear the puck, despite what looked to be a good opportunity for Zdeno Chara to do so. Nonetheless, he couldn't get it past the blue line, and seconds later, Max Pacioretty made a nice pass to Subban at the blue line, who found Tomas Vanek for the tip in the crease just in front of Rask.
Montreal took a 2-1 lead at 18:09 in the second period, and the frustrated Bruins earned themselves nothing but a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.
And in the third period, injury was added to insult. Shawn Thornton needed help leaving the ice as he injured his right leg trying to put a hit on Subban near the benches. Subban made a move to duck out of the way of Thornton, which in turn sent Thornton to the board in an awkward position where the knee appeared to buckle.
Now down a man and down a score, the Bruins were really in need of a lift.
But Montreal did their best to prevent - or at least delay −0 that.
Dougie Hamilton went to the box for interference, his second interference call of the night, and while the B's killed off his first penalty, they had no such luck this time around.
Subban received a pass from the blue line and fired it on the net. Once again, it was Vanek in front of the net with a tip that Rask had no chance on.
Thornton returned to the game midway through the third period, just in time for the Bruins comeback.
With the air seemingly sucked out of the Garden, Hamilton made up for his penalty time with a goal to make things 3-2 at 10:56. Marchand gave Hamilton a nice feed as he entered the Habs defensive zone and blasted it past Price.
Now with some momentum and life, the B's kept the attack on. Less than four minutes later Bergeron tied it up with a shot from the side that glanced off Bouillon.
Two minutes after that, it was Smith who received a pass from Krug that just got past a Habs defenseman. With Price sprawling to get to the other side of the net, Smith put the puck top shelf and put the Bruins on the board for good.
Milan Lucic sealed the deal with an empty-netter, as the Bruins scored the game's final four goals.