The Boston Bruins lost a playoff series last year when they had a 3-0 lead. So a mere 3-2 edge over the Montreal Canadiens guarantees nothing.
The Bruins won their second overtime game in three days when Nathan Horton scored at 9:03 of the second extra session.
“This is just good hockey,” said Montreal defenceman Hal Gill. “Both teams are playing hard and unfortunately we didn’t get the win, but that isn’t the end of it.”
On the winning goal, Montreal goalie Carey Price stopped Andrew Ference’s wrist shot from 30 feet but couldn’t control the rebound. Horton put the puck into the open right side of the net for his second goal of the playoffs.
“I saw the rebound come out,” Horton said. “It was like it was in slow motion. It was just sitting there.”
The win was the first by the home team in the first-round series.
“I felt confident,” Julien said. “I liked our composure in overtime. We were making some strong plays. We didn’t really panic.”
The Bruins, who have won three straight games, can end the series Tuesday night in Montreal.
“Playing at home Tuesday in front of our fans, hopefully that will make a difference,” Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said.
In Game 4, also in Montreal, Boston won 5-4 when Michael Ryder scored at 1:59 of overtime after the Bruins overcame deficits of 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3.
On Saturday, Horton came through in a well-played, tiring game.
“I just saw a shot,” Price said. “It hit my pad … and they buried it.”
Boston’s Tim Thomas made a brilliant save at 5:35 of the second overtime on a 2-on-1 Montreal break. Travis Moen passed from the left side across the slot to Brian Gionta, and Thomas slid across the crease to turn aside Gionta’s shot from five feet.
“My thought was just trying to get it on the net and get it over him,” Gionta said. “He moves well side to side and he just read it.”
At 8:08 of the first overtime, Price nearly gave the game to the Bruins when he whiffed as he attempted to clear the puck from the crease. He then fell backward on it as his mask fell off while Brad Marchand was just a few feet away.
“We were getting very tired,” Marchand said. “Guys were starting to cramp up. I’m pretty tired right now but it was a pretty special feeling being out there, very intense.”
Elsewhere in NHL playoff action, it was: Tampa Bay 8 Pittsburgh 2; Washington 3 N.Y. Rangers 1; and Los Angeles 3 San Jose 1
At Boston, Thomas made 44 saves, and Price stopped 49 shots.
The Bruins are 0-26 in series they trailed 2-0. But the Canadiens have lost the last two series in which they won the first two games—in 1996 against the New York Rangers and in 2006 against the Carolina Hurricanes, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.
After two scoreless periods, Marchand gave Boston the lead at 4:33 of the third period before Jeff Halpern tied it at 13:56.
Marchand passed from behind Price’s left side across the crease. The puck hit Boston’s Patrice Bergeron and trickled back to Marchand, who put it in the open side of the net to the left of Price.
Halpern scored with a short shot over Thomas’ right shoulder after taking a pass from Lars Eller from behind the net.
There was plenty of tight checking and end-to-end action in the first two periods as the Bruins outshot the Canadiens 21-16.
Montreal got a break about eight minutes in when Dennis Seidenberg’s pass from the right to left point intended for Zdeno Chara was stolen by Michael Cammalleri. He skated in ahead of the defence, but Thomas knocked his shot to the left of the crease. Tomas Plekanec got the puck and shot it toward the open right side where a sprawling Ryder swatted it away with his right glove.
“It was sort of a 2-on-1, 3-on-1,” Ryder said. “I think Timmy was out of position and I just tried to get a glove on it.”
Kings 3, Sharks 1
At San Jose, Calif., Jonathan Quick made 51 saves to help Los Angeles hold on to a big lead that Kyle Clifford and Wayne Simmonds helped provide and the L.A Kings beat the Sharks in Game 5 to remain alive in their first-round series.
The Kings cut San Jose’s lead in the series to 3-2 by bouncing back after a pair of home losses put them on the brink of elimination.
Capitals 3, Rangers 1
At Washington, Mike Green, Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin scored to help the Capitals advance to the second round with a 4-1 series victory.
Michal Neuvirth made 26 saves and had a shutout until the final minute. The top-seeded Capitals allowed only eight goals in the Eastern Conference series—two in three home wins.
Lightning 8, Penguins 2
At Pittsburgh, Steven Stamkos scored the first two playoff goals of his NHL career and Tampa Bay routed the Penguins to avoid elimination and cut the Penguins’ series lead to 3-2.
Stamkos scored 96 goals over the past two seasons to lead the NHL, but had only one assist in the first four games of the Eastern Conference series. He also had an assist Saturday.
The Penguins will get a second chance to advance Monday night at Tampa Bay.