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Gionta, Price help Habs get jump on Bruins

Apr 15, 2011 - 6:41 AM
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Carey Price stopped 31 shots for the third shutout of his playoff career as Montreal topped Boston, 2-0, in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Brian Gionta scored both goals with Scott Gomez notching the lone assist on each for the Canadiens, who came into the playoffs as the sixth seed thanks to a 96-point regular season.

"I thought that our top players elevated their game tonight," Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin said.

Tim Thomas made 18 saves for the Bruins, who won the Northeast Division with 103 points.

Boston is hoping to erase the memory of last year's loss to the Flyers in the conference semifinals which saw it become just the third team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 lead to lose a best-of-seven series. The final game of that series saw Boston take a 3-0 edge in the first period, only to lose the contest, 4-3.

Game 2 of this best-of-seven series is set for Saturday night in Boston.

This is the 33rd playoff series between these two Original Six rivals. It is the most two teams have faced off in the playoffs and Montreal has won 24 of them. However, Boston has claimed five of the previous eight series and swept the Habs in four games the last time the two clubs met in the 2009 quarterfinals.

Montreal jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 2:44 in as a pass from the left boards by Gomez slid past a teammate in front and went to the right side where Gionta was all alone to finish the play with a wrister into the net.

"I was playing the guy in front and it looked like he was the one that was going to pick it off, and by the time I realized that it got through him and over to Gionta he made a quick shot," Thomas said. "If he holds it a half second more I can get over there."

Montreal had to kill off two power plays in the second period and did so thanks to 18 saves from Price.

The Canadiens defense did their job in the third period as the team limited Boston to just five shots and none of them were of the dangerous variety.

The back-breaker in the game came with 3:18 to play. Milan Lucic was attempting to take the puck out of his zone, but was picked by Gomez at the right point. Gomez left a drop pass for Gionta, who blasted a shot from the right circle that Thomas got a piece of, but not enough to stop the puck and it went in the far side to seal the win.

Game Notes

Gionta's second goal was the 30th of his playoff career...Boston failed to score on three power plays while Montreal was held off the board on four man advantages...Boston went 22-13-6 as the host this season while Montreal was 20-19-2 on the road.