Montreal won 4-3 (Game 5 of 7)

Montreal won 4-3

Game 1: Wednesday, April 7th
Game 2: Friday, April 9th
Game 3: Sunday, April 11th
Game 4: Tuesday, April 13th
Game 5: Thursday, April 15th
Game 6: Saturday, April 17th
Game 7: Monday, April 19th

7:00 PM ET, April 15, 2004

TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

1 2 3 T
MTL 1 1 35
BOS 0 0 11

J. Theodore (Canadiens - G): Saves: 43, Save Pct.: .977

S. Koivu (Canadiens - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

R. Zednik (Canadiens - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Boston still leads series, 3-2

BOSTON (AP) -- Montreal Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore was often overshadowed by Bruins counterpart Andrew Raycroft in the first four games of their first-round playoff series.

Theodore, a former NHL MVP, re-established himself Thursday night as a player to watch.

Theodore made 43 saves, and Saku Koivu had a goal and two assists, in helping the Canadiens stay alive with a 5-1 victory over the Bruins. The Canadiens trail the best-of-seven series 3-2 and host Game 6 on Saturday night.

And Theodore is a big reason why their season is still going as he turned aside Boston's relentless pressure for the first 15 minutes.

"We all knew they were going to come out really strong, and they did that," Theodore said. "They had the momentum, they were throwing the hits, and they were getting a lot of shots."

But it was the Canadiens who scored first, tallying on a quick counterattack at 14:17 of the first period. Jason Ward sent Yanic Perreault in alone, and his shot deflected off of Raycroft's pads and inside the far post.

"In the first 15 minutes of the first period, Jose made some key saves and Yanic came up big," said Koivu, who had a hand in both of Montreal's power-play goals.

He scored on a rebound at 8:44 of the third period to make it 4-1 when the Canadiens had a two-man advantage. Koivu also assisted on Craig Rivet's power-play goal at 6:34 of the third that made it 5-1.

Rivet beat Raycroft with a long slap shot.

"I don't think we were there mentally," Raycroft said.

The Bruins continued to struggle with the man advantage, going 0-for-4 on Thursday and 2-for-22 for the series.

"Our line had its chances, we just weren't finding the net," said leading scorer Joe Thornton, who doesn't have a point in the series.

The Canadiens took a 2-0 lead at 12:21 of the second period on a three-on-two break. Richard Zednik won the puck at center ice and passed to Koivu on his left. Koivu then made a cross-ice pass to Alexei Kovalev, who scored his fourth goal of the series.

Kovalev was the goat in Game 4: After he was slashed in the second overtime, he stopped playing and shook his injured wrist. He turned over the puck, then collided with teammate Sheldon Souray, which allowed Glen Murray to skate in on a breakaway and score the winning goal.

"I thought he played a really strong game except for that last play," Koivu said of Kovalev's Game 4 performance. "To get the winning goal tonight takes some of the pressure off him."

Kovalev seemed reluctant to talk about the Canadiens' previous loss.

"All I had to do was put in the same effort as the first four games and things would start happening for me," he said. "One thing we wanted to do was stay focused and keep the pressure on them after we went up 2-0."

The Canadiens almost made it 3-0 Thursday when Raycroft was caught out of position. Pierre Dagenais had a clean shot at an empty net, but Bruins forward Sergei Samsonov threw himself in front of the puck and it deflected off his body.

Zednik eventually gave Montreal a three-goal advantage at 16:35 of the third period, just after the Bruins killed off a four-minute power play. Zednik took advantage of a turnover in the Bruins zone, skated in alone -- with Thornton clutching his jersey -- and backhanded the puck past Raycroft.

The Bruins finally broke through at 11:37 of the third when Nick Boynton found Murray to the right of the Montreal net and Murray slapped a shot into the open net.

"Everybody in this room is unhappy," Bruins forward Mike Knuble said. "It isn't just a loss, it's an embarrassment."

Game notes

The Canadiens played without D Stephane Quintal, who was hurt in Game 4. ... The Bruins are 17-0 in playoff series they have led 3-1. ... Fans loudly cheered the Canadian national anthem. Canadiens fans were criticized after booing during the U.S. anthem before Game 3.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press