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Missed Opportunity: Canadiens give up chance to put Bruins on the edge

MONTREAL - Brian Gionta thought the Canadiens deserved a better outcome.

Montreal and Boston took a scoreless draw to overtime of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal when Matt Fraser scored in his first post-season game to lead the Bruins to a 1-0 win Thursday, evening the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

"We did some good things in there, and that's why it stings so much," said Gionta. "It's tough to lose a big swing game."

The series returns to Boston on Saturday for Game 5.

"It's bitter right now, but at the end of the day, it's still a tied series," added the Canadiens captain. "There's no difference from game to game. You play, you reset, and you try to get going again. It's no different now."

The Canadiens fired 33 shots on Tuukka Rask, including 14 in the third period.

Lars Eller had a glorious chance to give Montreal the lead early in the final frame, but was denied by Rask at the doorstep. Gionta meanwhile couldn't benefit from a Boston giveaway in the offensive zone midway through the period, firing a backhand shot right into Rask's chest.

Those missed opportunities proved costly when Fraser scored the winner just 1:19 into OT, squeezing the puck past Carey Price after a Carl Soderberg shot ricocheted off the end boards and landed in the crease.

"It came around on the other side, and it bounced over my stick, and I lost it in the crowd of people," said Price, who made 34 saves in the loss. "I looked over my left shoulder, and it wasn't there ... Somebody poked it on the other side.

"I knew where it was when it came off the glass. I just lost it in front of me when it hit a shin pad."

Goals were at a premium on Thursday in a series that has otherwise been a high-scoring affair. Prior to Game 4, the Bruins and Canadiens were averaging a total of seven goals per game, and had scored at least one goal in every single period of the second-round matchup.

But on Thursday, the teams took a scoreless draw to overtime for only the second time in their 174 playoff-game history.

"We didn't play a sharp game, especially early on," said Josh Gorges. "For whatever reason, we were scattered, and passes weren't on the tape. We were a little bit late.

"Right now, there's nothing we can do about it. There's no sense sitting here feeling sorry for ourselves. We kind of knew we would have to win another one on the road. Home ice is great, and you want to take advantage of it, but you've got to play the same way on the road."

The Bruins couldn't capitalize on two power-play opportunities in regular time, and are now 0-for-8 in the series. Boston has not scored with the man advantage in 37 tries against the Canadiens in the post-season, dating back to 2009.

The Canadiens are 8-3 against the Bruins in the playoffs when the series is tied 2-2.

"We knew this was going to be a long series, it's a good team we're playing over there," said Gorges. "It's best of three. We come into Boston for Game 5 and we worry about that one game. That's all that matters to us."

Notes: The Canadiens made no changes to the lineup that beat Boston 4-2 in Game 3 on Tuesday.…Max Pacioretty has only scored one goal in eight playoff games.…Boston has outshot Montreal in every game so far this series, and in seven of eight encounters this year.…The last overtime playoff game at the Bell Centre was Game 6 of the Conference quarter-finals against the Bruins in 2011.…This was the first time in more than 60 years the Habs went to overtime in the playoffs with a 0-0 tie.


Andrew Copp

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