Commentary

Price's brillance costs Bruins in Game 1

Canadiens goalie hands Boston a shutout at TD Garden to open playoff series

Updated: April 15, 2011, 8:50 AM ET
By James Murphy | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- As Montreal forward Tomas Plekanec put it, maybe the Canadiens would be better off playing every game in their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series with the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

Habs goalie Carey Price earned his third playoff shutout with a 31-save performance in a 2-0 win Thursday night, and all three shutouts now have come against the Bruins, with two of them occurring at the Garden.

"We should play here more often; we should play all seven games here," Plekanec joked after he and the Canadiens took a 1-0 lead in this best-of-seven series.

[+] EnlargeCarey Price
AP Photo/Charles KrupaCarey Price's 31 saves Thursday brought on his third career playoff shutout -- all against the Bruins.

All joking a side, Plekanec, Price and the Canadiens played the perfect road game Thursday with a combination of timely saves and positional goaltending from Price and a defensive system that kept the majority of the Bruins' shots to the peripheral.

The Bruins might have put 31 shots on net, but their scoring chances were limited. When they got chances, Price shut the door. That was no more evident than in the second period, when the Bruins outshot the Habs 18-6.

"They were spending a lot of time in our zone in the second period, but they weren't getting shots to the net, and when they did, Carey made the difference," Plekanec said. "We all did a great job of limiting their chances and Carey stopped the ones they had."

For Price, it was just another chapter following a storybook regular season in which he went 38-28-6 with a 2.35 goals-against average and .923 save percentage, as well as eight shutouts. That came on the heels of an offseason, and even preseason, in which fans and media alike in Montreal tried to chase Price out of town and clamored for the team to keep last season's playoff hero, Jaroslav Halak.

Instead, management kept the 23-year-old Price, and the goalie keeps proving that it was the right decision.

"We have 100 percent confidence in him and we wouldn't have traded for any other goalie in the league," Plekanec said of Price. "He proved once again why he is one of the best in the league. There was no doubt in this room -- I know there was a lot of doubts outside the room -- and we all know how good he is. We're happy that he gets his first game and now we move on."

But before they moved on, Price wanted to make sure the team in front of him got the credit for his shutout performance. As Price and players and coaches on both sides pointed out, he was able to see the puck all night and that made it easier for him to do his job.

The Habs blocked 19 shots and with Price stopping the ones that got through, the Bruins became more frustrated as the game went on.

"Our guys played excellent tonight," Price said. "That's it. Our guys played great defense and we played a pretty perfect road game. If we were to write down on paper how we wanted to start the series, that would be it right there.

"I really am just working with my defensemen. We have had good chemistry all year. All I do is try to make the first save. They have done a really good job of getting to the rebounds, blocking guys out and blocking shots."

James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.

James Murphy

Bruins reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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