BOSTON – Patrice Brisebois’ power-play goal late in the second period was all the offence rookie goaltender Carey Price would need.
Price made 27 saves for his first career playoff shutout in the Montreal Canadiens’ 1-0 win over the Boston on Tuesday that put the Bruins on the brink of elimination. The Canadiens lead the series 3-1 and have a chance to close it out in Game 5 on Thursday night at the Bell Centre, where the Bruins haven’t won in six tries this season.
Price didn’t necessarily have to be brilliant, but he was there to make the saves when needed and backstop a suddenly offensively challenged Canadiens team to a tight road victory.
Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was big in goal for the Bruins with 27 saves, but his teammates were unable to get anything past Price at the other end and he wound up with a hard-luck loss.
Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau promised changes and there were several. Winger Michael Ryder was scratched in favour of rookie defenceman Ryan O’Byrne, while Mark Streit moved up to the wing from the blue-line.
Guillaume Latendresse started and finished the game in Ryder’s spot on a line with Christopher Higgins and Sergei Kostitsyn, but the forward lines were in constant flux in the second period as Carbonneau attempted to find a combination that worked.
Carbonneau played with his lines to such an extent that Alex Kovalev took at least one shift on all four forward lines in the second.
Another strong contingent of Canadiens fans came down to Boston for the game and continued booing Zdeno Chara every time he touched the puck, their presence once again helping the Bruins draw a sellout crowd of 17,565 to TD Banknorth Garden.
The Canadiens went ahead 1-0 with only 48 seconds left in the second period by scoring only their first power play goal since Kovalev’s overtime winner in Game 2. Andrei Kostitsyn entered the Bruins zone alone against three Bruins defenders, wheeled to the outside and behind the net before throwing the puck in front.
Thomas kicked it out to the point, where Brisebois one-timed a slapshot through a crowd in front for his first of the playoffs at 19:12 of the second.
Price and Thomas were both sharp leading to the Brisebois goal, and the Canadiens were lucky the Bruins didn’t capitalize on some of their early chances.
Glen Murray had two of the better ones. The first was about 30 seconds after the opening faceoff when he was alone in front but re-directed his shot wide, and the second came midway through the second when Price got across to stop his shot from the slot on a nice set-up by Marc Savard.
Notes:The Bruins made no lineup changes from Game 3, meaning winger Phil Kessel and defenceman Andrew Alberts were healthy scratches. Patrice Bergeron (concussion) remains on the sidelines while he awaits clearance from his neurologist for game action, and centre Chuck Kobasew is out with a leg injuryCanadiens captain Saku Koivu (foot) and defenceman Francis Bouillon (ankle) are still not ready to return to action. Carbonneau says Koivu will have another X-Ray on his broken left foot Wednesday, while Bouillon may be ready to play in Game 5It was the 11th time this season Ryder was a healthy scratch