MONTREAL – The Boston Bruins just couldn’t bury their chances.
On a night when Boston was looking close out the series, the Bruins made a hash of numerous opportunities in a 4-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 on Monday night.
The Bruins hit posts and crossbars, missed open nets, blew odd-man rushes and couldn’t capitalize on key chances throughout the game.
Most noteworthy was a frenetic 5:11 sequence of uninterrupted play in the second period during which the Bruins penned Montreal in its own zone for more than two minutes.
With the Bruins down 1-0 early in the second period, and their power play expiring, Boston took advantage of tired Habs legs to play keepaway with Montreal in the offensive zone. The Bruins peppered the net with shots, but couldn’t take advantage of the unrelenting pressure.
“We were all around the net, getting a lot of chances. And then they scored that second one,” said Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron. “It definitely took the momentum out of us. It’s about finishing the job, and we have to be a lot better.”
On the sequence, Carl Soderberg took two shots on Carey Price, and had another two blocked by Canadiens defenceman Mike Weaver. Brad Marchand missed the net, Jarome Iginla was stopped by Price and Kevan Miller had a chance blocked by P.K. Subban.
The Bruins took a total four shots on net, had three shots blocked and missed the net once.
“If we capitalize on a chance there, it’s a different game,” said Milan Lucic, who was also denied by Price on the sequence. “We’re not frustrated with what happened here today because we established some pretty good zone time.”
Price made 26 saves for his fourth career post-season shutout. One of his best of the evening was on Lucic during Boston’s dominant spell. Lucic was fed the puck across the crease, but Price made it back in time to rob the left-winger.
“Bouncing puck, I overshot it,” said Lucic. “It was one of those plays that you put in nine out of 10 times. Today was that one that you didn’t get. You get the same opportunity next game, you have to make sure that you bury it.”
Minutes later, Max Pacioretty scored his second of the playoffs on a breakaway to double the Canadiens’ lead.
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask left his net to intercept a stretch pass by Nathan Beaulieu on the play, but changed his mind and retreated back between the posts. The moment of uncertainty was enough for Pacioretty to fire home a shot between Rask’s pads.
“I kind of hesitated,” said Rask, who let in four goals on 28 shots. “I didn’t want to get burned. Me and Zdeno (Chara) got caught looking at each other. I thought he was going to dive, and he thought I was going to play it. Just another gift.”
Thomas Vanek, who’s particularly successful against the Bruins with 67 points in 61 career games, added a goal at the end of the second period and another at the end of the third.
The Bruins have now failed to clinch a playoff series in Game 6 on the road for the fourth time in five seasons.
Game 7 goes Wednesday night in Boston.
“It’s one game, winner moves on,” said Lucic. “You know it’s not going to be easy. You fought all season-long to get the home ice advantage for situations like this.
“We’re confident. We’ve been a confident group all year long. We’ve played well in big games. This is the biggest one so far throughout the year. We have to bring our best when we need it the most. That’s the most important thing.”
Notes: The Canadiens are now 4-1 at the Bell Centre in these playoffs. Their only home loss was the 1-0 overtime defeat to the Bruins in Game 4.…The Canadiens are 5-3 all-time against the Bruins in the seventh game of a playoff series.…The Bruins made no changes to the lineup that beat Montreal 4-2 in Game 5 on Saturday.…The team that scores first has won every game in this series. The Habs are now 6-0 in the playoffs when scoring first.