Fraser Lifts Bruins Past Canadiens, 1-0 In OT
MONTREAL (AP) — Matt Fraser fantasized about a night like this as a kid in Red Deer, Alberta.
Making his NHL playoff debut after being called up Wednesday from Providence of the American Hockey League, the 23-year-old Fraser scored at 1:19 of overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
“It’s something I dreamed about many times on the outdoor rinks growing up,” Fraser said. “It’s every kid’s dream to score in overtime. … Words can’t even describe that feeling. I just watched the replay of it and I don’t even want to begin to try to explain that because it’s something I wish that every kid could feel.”
The goal tied the Eastern Conference semifinal series 2-2.
Fraser scored after Johnny Boychuk’s shot from the point took a high hop off the end boards and Price and defenseman Mike Weaver had trouble controlling the bouncing puck.
“It was bouncing around and I was just swatting at it as hard as I could and hoping it would hit something,” Fraser said. “Price is such a good goalie. He doesn’t give out a lot of rebounds. I might have got lucky there, but the puck wound up in the back of the net.”
Price lost sight of the puck.
“It came around on the other side and it bounced over my stick and I lost it,” Price said. “Somebody yelled ‘Over,’ so I looked over my left shoulder. Obviously, it wasn’t there. Then they poked it in on the other side.”
Game 5 is Saturday night in Boston.
“We knew how tight this series would be,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “It doesn’t mean any more than that we’ve tied the series. It’s been tight every game.
“It was important to get back in the series, but I don’t think we’ve played our best hockey. We’ve played hard, but I’ve seen us play better. You hope the win here will help us get better and we’ll go from there.”
Fraser had two goals in 14 regular-season games for Boston and had 20 goals in 44 games for Providence. Julien didn’t hesitate to use the youngster in overtime.
“It was no doubt a little nerve-wracking for him but to me it didn’t show on the ice,” Julien said. “He was poised, made some good decisions, he was strong with the puck and in his decision-making. We were talking about him and I said he’s been really good for us tonight and there was no doubt he was going to play in overtime.”
Tuukka Rask made 33 saves for Boston, and Price stopped 34 shots.
“This was a hard-nosed game between two well-prepared teams,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. “We lost a battle in front of the net on the winning goal, but I’m pleased with our team’s effort. All the games have been close and it won’t be different next game.”
The teams played their first scoreless period in regulation time in the series in a tight-checking first marked mainly by icings and missed passes.
Boston’s Carl Soderberg had the best chance in the final minute after Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban’s blind back pass was intercepted, but Price got a piece of it as it went off the crossbar.
Another goal-less period followed as shooters misfired, particularly Montreal’s Max Pacioretty on a setup from Thomas Vanek, and both goalies held their ground. Each team went on the power play once, but even that failed to break the deadlock.
The Canadiens went on attack in the third, peppering the Boston net and outshooting the Bruins 14-7. But theBruins got a power play and Reilly Smith hit a goal post, only to see Brian Gionta stoned by Rask alone in front of the net at the other end a moment later.
Notes: Fraser played in place of Jordan Caron. Matt Bartkowski stepped in on defense for Andrej Meszaros. … NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr attended the game.
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