Nathan Horton scored his second overtime goal of the series as the Boston Bruins took Game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on Wednesday night at home.
After a scrambled draw, Milan Lucic fed the puck to Horton, who fired a shot off Jeff Halpern to beat Carey Price high glove side for his third goal of the playoffs.
Johnny Boychuk, Mark Recchi and Chris Kelly also scored for the Bruins, who face the Philadelphia Flyers in a post-season rematch from last year that saw the Flyers rally from a 3-0 deficit in the series to take it and eventually advance to the Stanley Cup final. Andrew Ference chipped in with two assists and was a plus three.
Tim Thomas started in goal for the Bruins and made 34 saves.
Yannick Weber, Tomas Plekanec and P.K. Subban scored for the Canadiens, who blew a 2-0 series lead, losing four of their last five games.
Carey Price made 30 saves in the loss but was largely responsible for keeping his team in the game.
Veteran forwards Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez were a combined minus six in the game.
Boston dodged a bullet early in overtime when they nearly scored on their own net. After the puck got past Thomas, the defenceman nearly guided the puck into the open net.
Kelly scored his third of the post-season to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead 9:44 into the third. Seconds before, Michael Ryder collided with Roman Hamrlik, which left the veteran defenceman hurt on the ice. Play didn’t stop, Ference put the puck on net and Kelly made no mistake shovelling home the rebound. Kelly had only two regular season goals for the Bruins in 24 games after being traded from Ottawa.
Patrice Bergeron took an untimely high-sticking penalty with 2:37 remaining in regulation. It turned out to be costly. Subban scored on a rocket one-timer from Plekanec to beat Thomas top shelf and tie the game 3-3. The last couple minutes saw each team exchange chances but the game headed for overtime.
Boston nearly took the lead three minutes into the third period but Recchi was robbed by Price’s stick after an Adam McQuaid rebound bounced right to him alone in front.
Halfway through the third, Ference intentionally threw his shoulder into an unsuspecting Halpern with the puck all the way across the ice. He left the game and Ference was not penalized since the officials did not see the hit take place. He will likely face a disciplinary hearing with the NHL following the game.
Minutes after his goal, Kelly had another great scoring chance on a breakaway but was stopped by Price as the puck went off the goalie then off the top of the net. The momentum was owned by the Bruins as they searched for that coveted insurance goal and to seal a series win.
The Habs turned on the pressure nearing the end of the period. Boston once again had another great save by one of their skaters as McQuaid blocked what appeared to be a sure goal to preserve the 3-2 lead.
The first period began at a torrid pace, both teams running high with the adrenaline you’d expect in the opening minutes of a Game 7.
At 3:31 into the first period, Boychuk fired a shot through a crowd that beat a screened Price over the left pad to take the early lead. Price had just cross-checked Patrice Bergeron seconds before the goal as Bergeron was completely obstructing Price’s view of the play. This distracted the young goalie long enough for the puck to sail past him.
Boston increased their lead to 2-0 two minutes later. Recchi kept the puck alive, received a return pass in the slot and beat Price blocker side. It was Recchi’s first goal and fourth point of the post-season.
Montreal seemed confused defensively during the opening minutes resulting in a Jacques Martin timeout following the second goal. This seemed to turn the tide for the squad who turned up the pressure which resulted in Plekanec being taken down by Ryder.
Montreal cut the Bruins lead to one on the ensuing power play. As Weber came off the point he received a beautiful cross ice pass from Hamrlik and beat Thomas high glove side for his second of the post-season. Michael Cammalleri also received an assist on the goal and increased his league-high playoff point total to 10.
Montreal drew another penalty but were unable to capitalize. Nearing the end of that power play Andrei Kostitsyn clipped Dennis Seidenberg with a high stick which put Boston on the power play for the remainder of the first period. Boychuk almost had his second of the game but had his stick lifted at the last second and the period ended with a Boston ahead 2-1.
The Bruins had another man-advantage on a Lars Eller cross-checking penalty but it was the Habs who were able to capitalize. Plekanec scored an unassisted goal on a breakaway 5:50 into the second period to tie the game and shift the momentum in Montreal’s favour.
David Krejci missed a chance to retake the lead soon after when he lifted a backhand high over a wide open goal with Price down and out. The Bruins squandered a number of good scoring chances during the period.
With just over five minutes remaining in the second the Bruins got caught on a bad change. Halpern took an Eller pass and walked in all alone but was stoned by Thomas to preserve the 2-2 tie.
With less than two minutes remaining, Boychuk received a controversial boarding penalty for hitting Halpern into the stanchion. This was a hot-button issue after the Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty on March 8th that hospitalized the young winger. Montreal was unable to capitalize on the advantage and went into the intermission deadlocked.