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That’s all, folks.
The Montreal Canadiens have ended the 2013-14 NHL season for the Boston Bruins, beating the B’s 3-1 in Game 7 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
After holding a 3-2 series lead, the Bruins couldn’t win either of the last two games to close out the series, getting trounced 4-0 in Montreal in Game 6 before losing Game 7 at home. They never led.
The Habs struck first, just over two minutes into the first period. Dale Weise scored off a cross-ice feed from Daniel Briere that Tuukka Rask never saw go across the crease. Daniel Paille and Matt Bartkowski, who did not have a series to remember, were both flat footed while Weise snuck behind them, unfettered for an easy redirect into the back of the net. Considering every team that scored first won in the series, this was certainly an auspicious sign to start the game.
The Bruins struggled to get anything going for most of the first 20 minutes, including any help from the officials when Brad Marchand was hit with goalie interference after being tripped up in front of the net and pushed into Carey Price. (He would also receive a penalty for spraying Price to start the second, which was baffling for a Game 7 contest.) They started to get into a rhythm towards the end of the period, particularly when Patrice Bergeron won the puck deep in the Canadiens’ zone and set up Marchand with a point-blank shot and Price on the move. Naturally, he fired it straight over the top of the net, as the Bruins have been wont to do all series.
The Bruins continued their solid play into the start of the second period, thanks to a couple of nice saves by Rask (he had 15 for the game). As has been the case, though, the B’s couldn’t get the one bounce or break to get on the scoreboard. Instead, the Canadiens scored again on a goal by Max Pacioretty to make it 2-0.
The Bruins would get on the board before the end of the second. On the power play, David Krejci finally did something worthwhile with the puck when he left it for Torey Krug to fire a wrister from the left side that Jarome Iginla deflected in to make it a one goal game going into the final period.
After killing off 1:15 of a Canadiens power play to start the third, the Bruins created a bevy of chances that (surprise!) Price stonewalled as part of his 29 saves on the night. Instead of evening up the score, the Bruins’ Johnny Boychuk was hit with interference on a high cross-check, leading the Habs to another power play goal in Boston. Briere put one off Chara’s skate and past Rask for a 3-1 lead with 4:31 remaining, and a late Bruins power play for the final two minutes – even with two extra men after pulling Rask off the ice – was too little, too late.
As a result, the Canadiens will be advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals to take on the New York Rangers, while the Bruins will head into the offseason sooner than expected with only the President’s Cup to show for their efforts.