BOSTON (AP)—The Bruins are learning the hard way what the Canadiens knew four months ago: 20-year-old goalie Carey Price would be outstanding in the playoffs.
The rookie posted his first playoff shutout, 17-year-veteran Patrice Brisebois scored late in the second period, and Montreal moved within one win of advancing in the best-of-seven series with a 1-0 victory over Boston on Tuesday night.
Price is 15-4 since general manager Bob Gainey traded goalie Cristobal Huet to Washington on Feb. 26. And he’s allowed just seven goals in his last seven games.
“He’s been playing really well since December,” Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. “I think from that point on, Bob knew he would come through in the playoffs. He’s been everything we expected and keeps getting better.”
The Canadiens, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, lead the first-round series 3-1 and can wrap it up at home Thursday night.
The teams played evenly for much of the hard-hitting, fast-paced game until Brisebois scored on a power play with 42 seconds left in the second period.
Then Price continued doing what he had done throughout the series: shut down Boston’s mediocre offense, which managed 27 shots but just one in the last seven minutes.
“I couldn’t even write down on paper the effort the guys put in defensively in the last 10 minutes,” Price said.
They were helped by a Bruins team that made too many passes and failed to connect on a lot of them.
“We were all around the net,” said Marc Savard, whose overtime goal won Game 3 in Boston. “The rebounds were there, but we just couldn’t put them in.”
Price, trying to become the third rookie goalie to lead the Canadiens to a Stanley Cup, following Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy, stopped two solid bids in the second period before Brisebois scored.
“He’s a great goalie,” Metropolit said. “He’s poised. He did well tonight getting to the rebounds and pushing them out to the side.”
The Canadiens, who have trailed just once in winning 10 of 11 games against the Bruins this season, went ahead midway through a power play after Andrew Ference was sent off for tripping.
“It was just kind of a bunch-up in front of the net and I guess (Alex Kovalev) went down, so what can you do?” Ference said. “But, also, you have to score to win a hockey game.”
Andre Kostitsyn skated behind the Boston net and fed the puck just in front of the crease. It was deflected out to Brisebois, who beat goalie Tim Thomas.
“I don’t think I heard a louder celebration on the bench all year,” Mike Komisarek said. “To have a veteran presence who has been a great leader in the locker room is pretty special.”
The previous two games had gone into overtime—a 3-2 win by the Canadiens and a 2-1 win by the Bruins—but Boston couldn’t make it three in a row.
Price has allowed just five goals in the four games, while the Canadiens have scored nine to continue their season-long dominance of Boston. They never trailed in winning all eight of the regular-season matchups and the first two playoff games, starting with a 4-1 loss in Montreal in which the Bruins were held to just 18 shots.
“He’s in a zone,” Carbonneau said. “He’s really strong mentally.”
After losing the first two games, the Bruins returned for their first home playoff game since 2004, when they were eliminated by the Canadiens and current Boston coach Claude Julien.
The Bruins took their first lead against Montreal this season on a goal by Milan Lucic 6 1/2 minutes into Game 3. That lasted until 4:26 of the second when Tom Kostopoulos tied it. Marc Savard’s goal won it in overtime.
Now the Bruins, in the playoffs for just the fourth time since 1999, are one loss away from being eliminated in the first round for the third straight time.
“We feel like we deserve better,” Metropolit said.
Phil Kessel, Boston’s third-leading goal scorer in the regular season, was a healthy scratch for the third straight game. … Right wing Michael Ryder did not play for the first time in the series as Montreal used seven defensemen and used another defenseman, Mark Streit, at forward. … Players from Boston College’s NCAA championship team, wearing their jerseys, took the ice to be introduced during a timeout 13 minutes into the game.