The Boston Bruins were without their leader on Saturday and find themselves in a huge hole as a result.
Michael Cammalleri and Mathieu Darche scored in the first 2:20, and Carey Price stopped 34 shots to lead Montreal to a 3-1 victory Saturday night and give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Boston has never, in 26 tries, won a playoff series after losing the first two games.
“Two (wins) is not four,” Price said. “We have a lot of work left to do. We are a good team when we jump out and get the lead and we are playing them real tight and not giving them space.”
Already down after losing the opener 2-0 at home Thursday night, the Bruins lost their captain and best defenceman when Zdeno Chara was scratched after being hospitalized overnight because of dehydration. Coach Claude Julien said Chara was sweating and dizzy after the pre-game skate.
“He deserves so much better for what he did tonight, coming to the rink and going out there for the warmup,” Julien said. “Even attempting to come, it was courageous on his part. We missed him. He did the best he could, but to be honest with you it wasn’t even close.”
And neither were the Bruins, for the second game in a row. The Northeast Division champions now need at least one victory in Montreal just to bring the series back to Boston for a fifth game.
Game 3 is Monday night in Montreal, with Game 4 on Thursday night. Between them, the Bruins will practise at the site of the U.S. hockey team’s “Miracle on Ice” in the 1980 Olympics.
“We’ve made it hard on ourselves,” forward Mark Recchi said. “But we’ll give Montreal some credit and go in their building and try to do what they did to us.”
Elsewhere in the NHL it was: Philadelphia 5, Buffalo 4; Detroit 4, Phoenix 3; and Los Angeles 4, San Jose 0.
At Boston, Tim Thomas made 23 saves, but the Bruins fell behind quickly as they struggled to adapt without Chara.
“That’s part of playoff hockey: having the players available that you have in your organization,” Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said.
Patrice Bergeron’s second-period goal cut the deficit to 2-1 and snapped a post-season scoreless streak that dated to the team’s unprecedented collapse after taking a 3-0 lead on Philadelphia in last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals. The loss was Boston’s sixth in a row in the playoffs.
“We all know what’s on the line and what happened last year,” Bruins defenceman Dennis Seidenberg said. “It is in the back of our mind.”
But Yannick Weber made it 3-1 with 2:29 left in the second, and the Bruins were booed off the ice by their home fans after the period, just as they were in the first. In the third, the “Fire Julien!” chants began in the upper deck as the coach stood behind the bench, arms crossed.
The Bruins pulled Thomas for an extra skater, but did not get a shot off in the final minute.
“Let’s be honest: Our team has not played at all close to the way we can,” Julien said. “If they’re going to score some goals, they’re going to need to earn them more than they have. We had to work pretty hard to get that one goal. I don’t think they had to work as hard to get theirs.”
At Philadelphia, Brian Boucher made 20 saves in relief of rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, and Ville Leino and Danny Briere scored in a 1:51 span in the second period to help the Flyers beat Buffalo and even the Eastern Conference series 1-1.
Boucher took over midway through the first period after Bobrovsky allowed three goals on seven shots.
After Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk tied it at 3 with 6:46 left in the first, Leino beat Ryan Miller on a power play with 6:24 remaining in the second and Briere made it 5-3 with 4:33 to go in the period.
Claude Giroux and Dan Carcillo also had first-period goals for the Flyers.
At Detroit, Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and two assists in the first period—including a marvellous move to set up Darren Helm’s goal—and the Red Wings held off Phoenix to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference series.
Brian Rafalski and Tomas Holmstrom also scored to help Detroit take a 4-0 lead in the second. Phoenix rallied with three power-play goals. Radim Vrbata scored in the second, and Shane Doan had two in the third.
At San Jose, Calif., Drew Doughty had two goals and two assists, Jonathan Quick made 34 saves and Los Angeles beat the Sharks to even the Western Conference series at one game apiece.
Jack Johnson and Kyle Clifford also scored for Los Angeles. The King bounced back from an overtime loss in Game 1 to seize home-ice advantage heading back to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Tuesday night.