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Battling Canadiens draw 1st blood Montreal pips Bruins 4-3

BOSTON, May 2, (Agencies): Defenseman P.K. Subban’s power-play goal 4:17 into the second overtime period lifted the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins in the opener of their Eastern Conference second round NHL playoffs clash. It was the second goal of the game for Subban, who blasted a slap shot from the blue line past goaltender Tuukka Rask just seven seconds after Boston defenseman Matt Bartkowski was called for holding Brian Gionta. The Canadiens wasted little time in scoring their second power-play goal of the game to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Rene Bourque had a goal and an assist and goaltender Carey Price finished with 48 saves, including 15 in overtime.

Rask finished with 28 saves for Boston, who rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 but never led. It was a fitting start to the 34th playoff series between the longtime rivals, who went into overtime for the 38th time in their 171 postseason matchups. Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara had a great chance to win it about six minutes into the first overtime period, poking a rebound behind Price but the puck bounced across the crease without crossing the goal line.

Defenseman Johnny Boychuk scored with 1:58 left in the third period, tying it at 3-3 and setting up overtime on Boston’s third goal of the period. The Bruins rallied from a 2-0 deficit on goals by Reilly Smith and defenseman Torey Krug. Montreal defenseman Francis Bouillon put the Canadiens back in front with 7:51 left, but the Bruins continued getting pressure on Price and got one more past him on Boychuk’s one-timer slap shot from the blue line off a pass from Brad Marchand.

Results
    1    2    3    OT    T
Montreal    1    1    1    1    4
Boston    0    0    3    0    3
 

In Vancouver, the Vancouver Canucks sacked coach John Tortorella on Thursday after the NHL team failed to make the playoffs in his only season behind the bench. Linden took over as Vancouver’s president on April 9, just a day after Mike Gillis was fired as president and general manager. Gillis had hired Tortorella last June, but his lone campaign in Vancouver saw the Canucks finish with a 36-35-11 record and eight points behind Dallas for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference.
 

In New York, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux have been named finalists for the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player, the league said Thursday. Canadian superstar Crosby is a finalist for the fourth time after leading the NHL with 104 points this season, registering at least one point in 60 of the 80 games he played.
 

Defenseman Tom Poti called it a career on Thursday after 14 seasons in the NHL. The 37-year-old skated in 824 regular-season games for the Washington Capitals, New York Islanders, New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers. He also was a member of the silver medal-winning US Olympic team in 2002 and a 2003 NHL All-Star.

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