BOSTON -- The most promising season in recent history for the Boston Bruins came to a premature halt Wednesday night at TD Garden, as the Montreal Canadiens got a 3-1 victory in Game 7 of the second-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
The Canadiens now will face the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Bruins are known for dramatic postseason comebacks, but this time Boston couldn't erase a two-goal deficit, and the Canadiens celebrated on TD Garden ice.
Boston looked tired and couldn't keep up with Montreal. Defensively, the Bruins weren't at their best, and the Canadiens took advantage.
The Bruins played one of their worst periods of the playoffs in the first 20 minutes, and it didn't take Montreal long to capitalize. The Canadiens gained a 1-0 lead at 2:18 of the first period after a defensive breakdown by the Bruins. While Boston was attempting to play the physical game and set the tone early, the Canadiens used quick puck movement before Weise provided Montreal's first tally. The play started when the Bruins failed to get the puck deep off a neutral zone faceoff, and in transition the Canadiens dumped the puck in and won the puck battle. Bruins forward Gregory Campbell took the body instead of his man in the corner to Rask's right. Daniel Briere made a cross-crease pass to Weise, who netted the backdoor goal. Both Daniel Paille and Matt Bartkowski were stationary in front as Weise scored.
The Bruins couldn't generate much in the first period. Boston's Jarome Iginla had a decent scoring chance, but Price made the save. Then, at the 19-minute mark, the Bruins' Brad Marchand was on the doorstep, but his shot sailed over the net. What was worse for Boston was it committed seven turnovers in the first period.
The Canadiens continued to buzz and kept the pressure on in the second period. Rask was left to make a few timely saves in the first half of the second period, but Montreal once again capitalized on a failed breakout attempt by Boston and gained a 2-0 lead at 10:22. Montreal collected the loose puck and created a quick 2-on-1 that ended with Pacioretty's one-timer from the right faceoff dot that beat a sprawling Rask.
When things appeared bleak for the Bruins, Boston received a power play late in the second period and finally capitalized to cut its deficit by a goal. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug took a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle as Iginla quickly made it to the front of the net and redirected the puck past Price at 17:58.
After killing off the remaining 1:15 of a penalty to start the third period, the Bruins created better chances. During one surge four minutes into the period, Iginla's backhand attempt in the midst of a scramble hit the outside of the post.
The Bruins continued their charge, but an interference penalty on defenseman Johnny Boychuk allowed Montreal to score a power-play goal late in the third period when a shot redirected off Zdeno Chara's skate and past Rask for a 3-1 lead at 17:07.
Game 7 provided another example of how the Presidents' Trophy means nothing other than home-ice advantage.