MONTREAL -- For the first time in 45 years, the Boston Bruins have overcome the Montreal Canadiens' roadblock to the Stanley Cup.
Steve Kasper and Cam Neely scored two goals apiece Tuesdaynight to power Boston to the Adams Division title with a 4-1 victory over Montreal, the Bruins' first playoff-series triumph over the Canadiens in 19 meetings dating to 1943.
'Everyone feels tremendous,' Neely said in the jubilant Boston dressing room. 'When you hear day in and day out about 45 years without a victory, it gets monotonous. Now they have to start over from Day 1.'
After losing the first game of the series, the Bruins won four straight, and will face the winner of the Patrick Division final for the Wales Conference championship. The New Jersey Devils hold a 3-2 lead over the Washington Capitals in that best of seven series.
The Canadiens had not lost four consecutive playoff games since 1963, against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Boston defenseman Gord Kluzak described the victory as 'a monkey off our backs.'
'We had guys coming up big every night,' he said. 'We have a lot of young guys on the team now who never lost to Montreal. It doesn't get better than this.'
Bsoton general manager Harry Sinden said he felt 'relief' after years of frustration against Montreal in the playoffs.
'We sucked it up too many years,' he said. 'Our coach (Terry O'Reilly) totally outcoached him (Canadiens Coach Jean Perron). That was a big difference. It was like a professional against an amateur.'
Boston opened the scoring at 10:20 of the first period. Randy Burridge beat defenseman Petr Svoboda to the puck and broke in with Kasper. With only Larry Robinson back, Burridge fed Kasper, who beat goaltender Patrick Roy with a high wrist shot to the glove side.
Boston took a 2-0 lead at 14:09. Cam Neely intercepted a Mats Naslund pass and beat Roy on a breakaway, shooting low to the glove side.
Kasper scored his second goal of the game at 10:02 of the second period after another Montreal mistake. Burridge intercepted Robinson's cross-ice pass, raced down the right boards and passed across to Kasper, who guided the puck past the stick side of Roy despite Svoboda's ineffective check.
Montreal drew to 3-1 at 14:35 when John Kordic lifted a rebound of Gilles Thibaudeau's shot into the empty left side of the net over fallen goalie Rejean Lemelin.
At 4:06 of the third, Neely scored his second goal of the game when he deked Svoboda at the Montreal blue line, skated in alone and beat Roy with a short wrist shot high to the glove side.
The game was marked by a lack of discipline by the Canadiens. Montreal defenseman Chris Chelios drew a misconduct penalty at 12:01 of the first period when he grabbed the stick of Boston forward Bob Sweeney and threw it into the crowd.
Earlier in the period, Montreal requested referee Dave Newell to measure Lemelin's stick, which proved of legal width, and the Canadiens were assessed a minor penalty for delay of game.
The stick measurement followed a wild scramble during which Lemelin lost his stick stopping a breakaway by Robinson. Lemelin played with no stick for about 30 seconds, then was handed an attacker's stick by a teammate. Thirty seconds later made a big save using that stick on a slap shot by Chelios.
During the subsequent stoppage in play, Chelios picked up Lemelin's goalie stick and handed it to Canadiens' coach Jean Perron, who gave it to a linesmen, but then decided to ask for the measurement.