Montreal Canadiens strong, Boston Bruins stronger in comeback win

Boston Bruin Milan Lucic celebrates against the Montreal Canadiens

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, it’s that no lead is safe. And, if there’s one thing we should’ve learned from last year’s playoffs, it’s that no lead is safe against the Boston Bruins.

The Montreal Canadiens found that out on Saturday when they blew a two-goal lead in the third period against the Bruins. Boston scored three goals in a span of 5:32 to stun the Canadiens and even their second round series at one game apiece.

But did we expect anything less from the 2010-11 Stanley Cup champions?

We need only look back to last year’s Bruins and their comeback Game 7 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs for proof that this team never, ever quits.

And we saw that Saturday in their 5-3 victory over Montreal.

The Canadiens should be happy to head back to Montreal with the series tied, especially after narrowly avoiding a similar Bruins comeback in Game 1. Perhaps these first two games will teach the Habs not to let up the next time they’ve got Boston on the ropes.

And the Bruins did look like they were toast heading into the third period. The Canadiens had a 3-1 lead thanks to a pair of goals from Thomas Vanek and another from Mike Weaver.

Then the comeback started. Dougie Hamilton fired a snapshot past Carey Price, who was spectacular through the first two periods but suspect in the third. Patrice Bergeron then tied it up with a wobbly, soft shot that Price should have had.

Check it out.

Rookie Reilly Smith would give the Bruins the game-winning goal with 3:32 left to play. Then Milan Lucic salted the game away with an empty-netter at just over a minute left.

Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives for the Canadiens. They didn’t back down against the bigger, stronger Bruins, and for two periods at least, seemed to have Boston frustrated. They’ve also clearly worked their way into Tuukka Rask’s head, because he just didn’t look like the same all-world goaltender he is against other teams.

And Brendan Gallagher is beginning to emerge as the Habs’ answer to Brad Marchand. Gallagher had a fantastic game, assisting on Weaver’s goal and drawing two penalties. He’s the kind of pesky, yappy player you need in the playoffs.

P.K. Subban also did his part, mixing it up with the Bruins (including Zdeno Chara) and setting up both Vanek goals on the powerplay. Good to see him rise above the racist hullabaloo that followed Game 1, and good to see most Boston fans stick to tweeting about the amazing hockey we’ve seen so far.

And how about the goaltending? Sure, both goalies allowed more goals than usual, but they also came up with some spectacular saves. And it’s been a fire drill in front of both nets, with bodies flying everywhere.

Based on these first two games, this is going to be a scrappy, intense, down-to-the-wire series with lots of great goaltending.

Here’s hoping this one goes seven.