The Boston Bruins will try to close out the Montreal Canadiens and earn a second straight trip to the Eastern Conference finals when they visit the Habs for Monday's Game 6 battle at the Bell Centre.
The defending East champions hold a 3-2 edge in this best-of-seven set after claiming a 4-2 win Saturday on home ice. The Bruins hope to move on Monday by posting a third consecutive victory over the Canadiens.
Montreal, meanwhile, hopes to win its first elimination game of this postseason. The Canadiens swept Tampa Bay in the first round and held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in this series against rival Boston. Montreal hasn't made it to the conference final round since 2010 when it lost in five games to Philadelphia.
If the Habs can avoid elimination and take Game 6, the clubs will meet Wednesday in Boston for a decisive seventh game.
"The biggest thing is when we get ready for Game 6, we don't focus on trying to win two games," said Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges. "We can't win two games on Monday, we can only win one. If we do that, then we'll worry about what comes after that."
Carl Soderberg was the star for Boston on Saturday, as he picked up a goal and two assists to back 29 saves from Tuukka Rask in the 4-2 decision at TD Garden. Reilly Smith, Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson also tallied for the top-seeded Bruins.
Boston went 2-for-4 on the power play in the Game 5 win, with Iginla and Smith providing goals on the man advantage. The Canadiens scored twice on five power-play opportunities on Saturday.
"I think our power play wasn't effective the first period," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. "We had a little chat after the opening period about turning up the intensity. Then when we scored the two goals, and the power play was huge."
Smith's tally snapped the Bruins' 0-for-37 playoff streak on the power play against the Canadiens since Michael Ryder scored in Game 2 of the 2009 ECQF on April 18, 2009, a 5-1 Boston victory
Brendan Gallagher and P.K. Subban scored for the Canadiens, while Carey Price stopped 26 pucks in defeat. Gallagher's goal, which came with 5:21 left in the second, ended Rask's shutout string of 121 minutes, 58 seconds dating back to Game 3.
"We lost a battle, but we haven't lost the war," said Montreal head coach Michel Therrien. "We'll head home where we play with a lot of confidence and we'll take it one game at a time."
Subban, the 2013 Norris Trophy winner, has scored all four of his goals this postseason in this series and three of the tallies have come on the power play. He scored on a rocket from the point with 2:29 left in Game 5 to cut the score to 4-2, but the hosts put a blanket over the Habs' attack until the final buzzer.
In the final minute of Game 5, Subban was involved in an incident with Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton, who, while sitting on the bench, squirted his water bottle at Montreal's star defenseman during play. Replays captured Thornton in the act and the Boston forward was fined $2820.52, the maximum permitted under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Canadiens made forward Danny Briere a healthy scratch in Game 5. The 36- year-old Briere has recorded 113 points in 116 postseason appearances and has a goal and three assists in eight playoff games this spring, but was benched in favor of Brandon Prust on Saturday. Prust registered just one hit and no shots on goal in nearly 8 1/2 minutes of ice time. Briere could see his way back into the lineup in Game 6.
This series is the 34th playoff meeting between these Original Six rivals. The Canadiens are 24-9 in the previous 33 series, but the Bruins have won the last two (2008, 2011).
Boston also carried a 3-2 lead into Game 6 at Montreal in the opening round of the 2011 playoffs, but the Canadiens won that test before the Bruins earned a Game 7 victory on home ice.