MONTREAL – When two goalies are battling it out in a playoff matchup, something eventually has to give.
On Thursday night that something, or someone, was Carey Price.
Matt Fraser -- called up from Providence Thursday morning to try and give the Bruins an offensive spark -- pushed the rebound of a Carl Soderberg shot past Price during a scramble in front of the net at 1:19 of overtime, giving the B's a 1-0 victory over the Canadiens in Game 4 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series. The series is now tied at 2-2.
Both Price and Tuukka Rask were zoned in for their respective teams during the three regulation periods. Rask shut off a partial breakaway by Brian Gionta in the second period that ranked as Montreal's best chance, and Price made a couple of beautiful stops on Reilly Smith and Patrice Bergeron during a 1-2 combination scoring chance.
In the third period, Andrei Markov bombed away from the point, and the resulting rebound to Gionta was swallowed up by a fast-reacting Bruins goaltender stretching to the far post.
Each team got a power play in the first two periods as well, but neither the Bruins or the Habs could do anything with it as the refs once again let the two Original Six rivals play hockey, rather than special teams. It should be noted the Bruins also hit three crossbars in regulation as well: one from Jarome Iginla that went out of play, another from Soderberg on a wide-open rebound chance from the slot, and the final from Smith in the third period.
Those were the eighth, ninth and tenth Bruins chances that have hit the post/crossbar in the four playoff games thus far.
The teams will play Game 5 Saturday night in Boston.
GOLD STAR: Who else but Matt Fraser? He gets the overtime game-winner in his first career Stanley Cup playoff game after beating Douglas Murray to the front of the net for a loose puck. It was sweet retribution for Fraser after he couldn’t quite corral a hot-potato rebound at the end of the second period when the Bruins' third line was threatening for the game’s first goal. Fraser finished with four shot attempts in 14:44 of ice time, but the greasy, blue-collar score just a few minutes into the first OT was the only shot that mattered.
HONORABLE MENTION: A 33-save shutout for Rask was exactly what the doctor ordered in Game 4. Price was equally excellent for the balance of the game, and one knew it was going to come down to a bouncing puck wildly loose in front of the net. Rask’s best stops were probably the Gionta partial breakaway in the second period, and the 1-2 combination on a Markov point blast and the immediate Gionta rebound shot from the point. Rask pushed from post to post and managed to extend his glove to get one of many must-have stops throughout the game.
BLACK EYE: Murray had six hits and absolutely rocked Shawn Thornton in the first period, and that was the perfect example of the positive side of the Habs defenseman’s game. Then he stood like a statue while Fraser darted in front of him for a loose puck in overtime, and allowed the game-winning goal to get launched at a sprawling Price. Canadiens coach Michel Therrien raised eyebrows when he inserted Murray into the lineup for Game 3 at the Bell Centre, and the game-winning goal was the reason why: Murray is just too slow to be anything but a liability in the D-zone when things start scrambling.
TURNING POINT: The Canadiens outshot the Bruins by a 14-7 margin in the third period and got some decent shots off against Rask, but the Finnish netminder stood tall. Truth be told, the B’s defense did an excellent job of clearing pucks and slowing down Montreal attackers; still, Rask was flawless in his execution as the Canadiens grew in desperation deeper into the game. Once the Bruins got it into overtime it seemed like a weight had been lifted, and they just pushed until they got the game-winner.
BY THE NUMBERS: 90 – the number of goals that Matt Fraser has scored in the AHL over the last three seasons prior to his Game 4 heroics.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s great to get the win, but it’s a pretty neat story. Getting called up [to the NHL] and getting an OT goal -- and not just that, but the only goal in the game -- is pretty cool. He really played a great game.” -- Jarome Iginla, talking about the OT game-winner for rookie Matt Fraser