The Boston Bruins beat old foes the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 in the opener of their first-round NHL playoff series on Thursday.
The Bruins are the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference, but haven’t advanced from the first round in a decade.
They made a good start as Phil Kessel scored twice and added an assist, while Zdeno Chara scored with 8 minutes, 45 seconds left to break a third-period tie. Tim Thomas stopped 26 shots and Carey Price made 35 saves for the Canadiens.
Kessel and David Krejci gave Boston a 2-0 lead before Montreal tied it on goals from Chris Higgins and Alex Kovalev. Kessel made it 4-2 with 13.4 seconds left on an empty-netter from a Milan Lucic pass, a goal that prompted a round of fisticuffs that continued after the final whistle.
Montreal and Boston have met an NHL-record 32 times in the playoffs, with the Canadiens winning 24 times, including last year when they had the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference but needed seven games to get out of the first round.
BLACKHAWKS 3, FLAMES 2
In Chicago, Martin Havlat scored 12 seconds into overtime as Chicago beat Calgary to win their first playoff game in seven years.
After tying it late in regulation, Havlat drove a wrist shot past Miikka Kiprusoff from between the circles for the third-fastest overtime goal in playoff history, sending a towel-waving crowd at the United Center into a frenzy.
Mike Cammalleri gave Calgary a 2-1 lead about 4 minutes into the final period when he scored on a two-on-one break, taking a nice pass from Daymond Langkow.
But Chicago got even with 5 minutes, 33 seconds left when Havlat scored on his own rebound after Kiprusoff stopped his initial shot from the right circle.
David Moss opened the scoring for the Flames in the first period and Chicago’s Cam Barker tied it in the second.
Havlat was three seconds off the NHL record of nine seconds set by Brian Skrudland for Montreal in 3-2 victory over Calgary on May 18, 1986, in the Stanley Cup finals. J.P. Parise of the Islanders scored in 11 seconds of overtime against the Rangers in 1975 and Chicago’s Pit Martin also scored after 12 seconds in 1972 against Pittsburgh.
Game 2 is tonight in Chicago.
DUCKS 2, SHARKS 0
In San Jose, California, Jonas Hiller made 35 saves in a sparkling playoff debut for eighth-seeded Anaheim, while Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist in the third period.
Getzlaf set up captain Scott Niedermayer’s tiebreaking power-play goal early in the third before roaring out of the penalty box to score his own goal with 2 minutes, 25 seconds to play.
With Hiller’s flawless play, the playoff-tested Ducks put an early playoff scare into San Jose, the Presidents’ Trophy winners with 117 points.
Evgeni Nabokov made 15 saves for San Jose in the opener of the first post-season series between two California clubs in four decades.
Game 2 is tomorrow night in San Jose.
RED WINGS 4, BLUE JACKETS 1
In Detroit, Michigan, Jonathan Ericsson was credited with the go-ahead goal for Detroit with 6 minutes, 39 seconds left in the second period on a shot that Manny Malhotra redirected into his own net trying to stop the puck with his glove.
Jiri Hudler, Nicklas Kronwall and Johan Franzen also scored for Stanley Cup champions Detroit, while Chris Osgood made 20 saves, allowing only R.J. Umberger’s goal.
Columbus rookie Steve Mason stopped the first 21 shots he faced before giving up three goals in a five-shot span. He finished with 30 saves.