Bruins struggling on power play

Updated: April 21, 2004, 2:35 PM ET
Associated Press

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens figure they've seen the worst from Boston Bruins rookie Andrew Raycroft. They know they'll need to pick up their game to win again.

The goalie looked beatable for the first time Thursday night, allowing the Canadiens to stay alive in the first-round playoff series with a 5-1 victory. The Bruins still hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series and get another chance to eliminate the Canadiens in Game 6 on Saturday night.

"He's been one of the top goalies in the league all year and he'll bounce back," Canadiens forward Yanic Perreault said Friday. "It'll be tough to score against him."

Perreault's goal 5:43 into the first period started the Montreal romp in Game 5. Raycroft, the leading rookie of the year candidate, also wasn't sharp on Alex Kovalev's goal 7:39 into the second.

Montreal's Jose Theodore, meanwhile, had his first dominant game of the series, making 43 saves.

"They're up 3-2 but I don't know it that's because of the goaltending," Canadiens forward Darren Langdon said. "Both teams have great goaltenders. I'd say Raycroft will come back with the same attitude Theo did."

Early in the series, some wondered if Raycroft was about to do to Montreal what Theodore did to Boston in 2002, steal the series.

The Bruins dominated the series opener 3-0 and then were outplayed in Game 2. Boston still managed to head to Montreal with a 2-0 series lead after Theodore let in a soft goal in overtime to Patrice Bergeron.

Montreal won Game 3 at home, then lost when Kovalev, slashed by Travis Green, abandoned the puck and allowed Glen Murray to score on a breakaway for a 4-3 double-overtime loss.

That put Montreal in a 3-1 series hole, but Theodore's return to form and a newfound scoring touch has the Canadiens confident they can win Saturday night and force a decisive Game 7 on Monday in Boston.

Meanwhile, the Bruins are struggling on the power play. After scoring twice with the man advantage in the opener, they have fallen into an 0-for-18 slump.

"We're still ahead in this series," coach Mike Sullivan said. "The expectation coming in was that it would be a hard-fought series and probably a lengthy one. We have to be sure to keep that in perspective."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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