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Kovalev scores overtime winner as Canadiens take 2-0 series lead over Bruins

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Kovalev scores overtime winner as Canadiens take 2-0 series lead over Bruins

The Canadian Press
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MONTREAL - Alex Kovalev scored in overtime as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 Saturday and took a 2-0 lead in their opening-round playoff series.

Kovalev scored 2:30 into overtime on a power play. Andrei Markov passed it to Kovalev on the left side, who scored on a high shot from the left circle.

It was Montreal's first power-play goal in 13 attempts in the series.

Montreal has now won all 10 meetings with Boston this season and 13 in a row overall.

Game 3 is Sunday in Boston.

Rookie Sergei Kostitsyn, with his second of the playoffs, and Roman Hamrlik scored in regulation time for Montreal.

Peter Schaefer and David Krejci scored in the third period to tie the game for Boston by the 9:34 mark to set up a frantic end to regulation time, which included Boston killing off a 33-second Montreal two-man advantage.

During a four-minute high-sticking penalty to Shawn Thornton, Patrice Brisebois hit the goalpost as time expired in the period.

Kostitsyn scored the first goal of the series only 34 seconds into the first game, but waited until 1:50 of the second frame this time to jump on a loose puck and slide it under a sprawled Tim Thomas to give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead.

For a second straight game, the sound was ear-splitting from the crowd of 21,273 to open the game, but unlike the opener, it was Boston that came out hitting and winning races for the puck against the complacent-looking Canadiens.

But when captain Zdeno Chara, booed every time he touched the puck for no particular reason, was baited into a cross-checking penalty by pesky Tom Kostopoulos at 14:03, and momentum shifted to Montreal.

The checking line, which produced two goals in the opener, was at it again as Steve Begin forced a turnover and Hamrlik beat Thomas with a long shot from the left side at 18:30.

The crowded booed as Kovalev was hauled down at the Boston and line Petteri Nokelainen went in on Price and saw Schaefer chip in the rebound 3:38 into the third period.

Kovalev had the puck go off his stick during a short-handed breakaway and then slashed Aaron Ward to give Boston a two-man advantage. Krejci slammed Marco Strum's pass into an open side to tie the game.

Notes - Boston defenceman Dennis Wideman sat out with what the bruins called a "lower torso" injury, while forward Phil Kessel was a healthy scratch. Wideman skipped practice Friday but skated Saturday morning and said he was OK. That put defenceman Andrew Alberts and forward Vladimir Sobotka into the lineup. . .Ryan O'Byrne, Mikhail Grabovski and Greg Stewart were scratched as Montreal made no changes.

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Kovalev scores overtime winner as Canadiens take 2-0 series lead over Bruins