Montreal 2, Boston 1

BOSTON, April 27 (UPI) -- Jose Theodore regained his regular-season form Saturday, recording 43 saves to help the Montreal Canadiens edge the Boston Bruins, 2-1, and grab a three games to two lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Despite being outshot, 44-13, Montreal will have a chance to close out the series Monday at the Molson Centre.


"The biggest revenge is a victory," Montreal Coach Michel Therrien said. "That was our goal. Winning two games in Boston is a big motivation to win the series on Monday."

Following Kyle McLaren's vicious hit on Richard Zednik late in Game 4, Therrien vowed retribution. But Saturday's contest was a relatively tame affair. Only five minor penalties were called, none in the third period.

The Bruins played without McLaren, who was suspended by the NHL and attended a disciplinary hearing earlier Saturday.


"I faced a lot of shots and was a little surprised there were no penalties, but both teams played with discipline," Theodore said. "Both teams know you can't win in the playoffs by taking penalties."

With Zednik in Montreal General Hospital recovering from a concussion, a broken nose and a laceration under his right eye, the Canadiens took advantage of a pair of giveaways to grab a 2-0 lead on first-period goals by Bill Lindsay and Oleg Petrov.

The Canadiens got more good news after the game when they learned that Zednik had been released from the hospital during the game.

"The best thing for Zed and our team is to play well and win the series," Montreal captain Saku Koivu said. "Today, we did that."

The Bruins did not have a power play and the Canadiens just one in a hard-hitting but clean contest.

"The Bruins have an excellent power play and we knew we couldn't take bad penalties," Therrien said. "We kept our composure but still played hard."

The Bruins played without McLaren, who was suspended by the NHL and attended a disciplinary hearing earlier Saturday.

It was a turnover by Sean Brown, McLaren's replacement, that led to Lindsay's goal. Arron Asham's shot from the right faceoff circle hit the goalpost, but Lindsay, who replaced Zednik in the lineup, banged in the rebound, taking the crowd out of the game early.


"It was the worst possible way to start the game," Boston goaltender Byron Dafoe said. "Giving them two goals right off the bat wasn't the way to go."

The injuries to Zednik also meant more playing time for Canadiens enforcer Gino Odjick, normally a fourth-line player.

"It was a good, solid, hard-nosed game," Odjick said. "At this point in the series, nobody wants to throw away the game with stupid penalties. The fans were classy tonight. I hope our fans do the same."

Fearing an ugly response from the crowd at the FleetCenter, the Bruins aired a pregame announcement from right wing Bill Guerin asking the fans not to boo the Canadian national anthem. They did not.

"I was proud of the crowd tonight," Guerin said. "They showed great respect to Canada and for the Canadiens. That is how it should be."

But the Bruins came out tentative in the first period and were forced to play from behind.

With 5:35 left in the period, Dafoe misplayed the puck behind the net. Doug Gilmour passed in front to Petrov, who snapped a one-timer past Dafoe.

"We feel confident we can go to Montreal and win," Boston right wing Brian Rolston said. "If you want to win in the playoffs, you have to play with discipline. At first, we might have been sitting back to see what happened and we weren't sharp in the first period. In the last two periods, we took it to them, but Theodore stepped up to the plate and won the game for them."


After a sluggish first period, the Bruins dominated the second, outshooting the Canadiens, 18-4. During one stretch, Montreal went more than 10 minutes without a shot.

But Theodore allowed only Sergei Samsonov's goal with 9:32 left in the second. Following a faceoff win, Glen Murray passed in front to Samsonov, who tapped the puck into a wide-open net.

"Jose was outstanding tonight, in control all the way," Therrien said. "He is a young goalie and this was a great confidence builder for him."

After gaining the early lead, the Canadiens settled into the defensive mode that fueled their playoff drive late in the season, resulting in a quiet afternoon for Dafoe, who had to make just 11 saves.

Montreal spent almost all of the third period in its own zone, clinging to the one-goal lead. But Theodore, who compiled an .886 save percentage in the first four games of the series, repeatedly turned back the Bruins as they desperately pressed for the equalizer.

Theodore also had some luck as Boston hit four goalposts, including two in the third period. Defenseman Hal Gill clanged a blast from the left circle off the right post with 12:58 left and Stumpel hit the left post from close range with 2:13 remaining.


"Before today, the puck was hitting the post and going in," Theodore said. "Today, the shots hit the post and stayed out. This was a big win for us. We can go back home and win the series."

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