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Canadiens beat Bruins for Eastern Conference Finals bid

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The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Boston Bruins by a score of 3-1 tonight at TD Garden. With the victory, the Canadiens move on to play the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Bruins came out in the first period looking sluggish, and a defensive lapse by Bruins’ defenseman Matt Bartkowski allowed Dale Weise to sneak backdoor and tap in an easy goal just 2:18 into the game. The Bruins failed to generate any real momentum until the final minutes of the first period, where a few chances all failed to connect.

The Bruins that came out in the second period much more resembled the team that earned the President’s Trophy, hitting hard and making better decisions with the puck. The Bruins had six straight solid scoring opportunities before the Canadiens registered a shot on goal. However despite their heightened play, it was Max Pacioretty who cashed in on a one-timer to give Montreal a 2-0 lead.

The Bruins kept the pressure on in response to the second goal, and finally broke Carey Price’s stone wall when Jarome Iginla tipped in a shot from Torey Krug with just over two minutes in the period. The second period ended with the Canadiens leading 2-1.

With a one-goal lead, the Canadiens emphasized a bend-don’t-break style of play that gave Boston chance after chance to equalize in the final period. Despite several incredibly close calls (Jarome Iginla hitting yet another post on a rebound try was the closest), the Bruins couldn’t get the tying goal. With just under three minutes, Danny Brière squeaked a wrist shot past Tuukka Rask that sealed the game.

It ends a promising season for the Bruins in deflated disappointment, and will fuel the Canadiens as they move forward one step towards hockey’s ultimate prize.

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