MONTREAL (Reuters) - The Montreal Canadiens eased to a 5-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Monday to capture their Eastern Conference quarter-final series in the deciding seventh game.
The home team out-shot Boston 35-25 as the Habs’ 20-year-old rookie sensation goaltender Carey Price picked up his second shutout of the playoffs to ensure Montreal emerged with a 4-3 series victory.
Maintaining their quest for a record 25th Stanley Cup, the conference top seeds were roared on to victory by a sell-out crowd of 21,273 at the Bell Centre.
The Bruins started well and out-shot Montreal 9-4 in the first 10 minutes but still found themselves a goal down after the Habs opened the scoring at 3.31 on a slapshot from defenseman Mike Komisarek that got past Boston goaltender Tim Thomas.
Montreal scored twice in the second period to put the contest beyond Boston’s reach, the first on a shot by defenseman Mark Streit and the second on a powerplay as Andrei Kostitsyn took a pass from brother Sergei and slipped the puck past Thomas.
Andrei Kostitsyn made it 4-0 with his second goal of the game with just over two minutes remaining and the Canadiens completed the scoring when Sergei Kostitsyn netted eight seconds from the end of the contest.
Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau, who mixed up his player lines well to re-energize the team, admitted he was nervous before the game but had been expecting the Canadiens to respond to the eighth seed’s gritty challenge.
“We wanted to play a tough game, a game that we were on the puck all the time, which we did all year, and take advantage of our speed,” Carbonneau told reporters.
The Bruins had trailed 2-0 and 3-1 in the series before battling back to pull even with wins in Montreal and Boston to ensure the teams returned to Quebec for a decider.
Boston head coach Claude Julien, who coached Montreal from 2003-06, said his team had high expectations heading into the series despite losing all eight of their regular season encounters against the Canadiens.
“We never gave up. The work ethic was evident on everyone’s part,” he said.
Price showed again why he is rated so highly, staving off Boston’s early pressure and making key saves in each period.
“Pricey kept us in the game for sure. He made a couple of big stops, allowed us to settle down and start finding our game,” Montreal winger Christopher Higgins said.
Editing by John O'Brien