May 6, 2014 10:20 pm

Canadiens hold off Bruins for 4-2 win, series lead

Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban scores past Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask during first period NHL playoff hockey action Tuesday, May 6, 2014 in Montreal.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

MONTREAL – P.K. Subban, Dale Weise and Lars Eller each had a goal and an assist and Carey Price made 26 saves as the Montreal Canadiens downed the Boston Bruins 4-2 on Tuesday night to take the lead in their NHL Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series.

Montreal leads the best-of-seven series 2-1 with Game 4 slated for Thursday night at the Bell Centre.

Tomas Plekanec also scored for Montreal, which was outplayed for long stretches but made the most of quick-strike attacks.

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Patrice Bergeron and Andrej Meszaros scored for the Bruins, who outshot Montreal 28-26.

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For the third straight game in the series, the Canadiens held a 3-1 lead in the third period but, for the first time, didn’t let it completely slip away.

Tuukka Rask was pulled with 2:20 left to play and only four seconds later, Meszaros beat Price with a high shot through traffic off a feed from Milan Lucic. But the Bruins failed to get the equalizer in the frantic final minute. Then Eller got loose to score into an empty net with three seconds on the clock.

Canadian anthem singer Ginette Reno had the 21,273 at the Bell Centre at maximum loudness to start the game, but after an early flurry, the Bruins took control of the puck through the first 10 minutes of play.

Then Michael Bournival made a gritty play to get the puck around the boards to Subban, who left it for Thomas Vanek for a diagonal pass that gave Plekanec a shot into an open side for his third of the playoffs at 10:57.

Subban was sent off for roughing after a high hit on Reilly Smith that also took out Vanek, sending the Austrian to the clinic with an apparent right leg problem. He returned for the second period.

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Eller sent Subban in on a breakaway when the Canadiens defenceman left the penalty box. He put a deke on Rask and scored on a low forehand shot at 14:44.

Mike Weaver blocked a shot that went to Daniel Briere, who sent Weise in on a breakaway with a pass up the middle. The fourth-line winger beat Rask between the pads at 13:52 of the second.

Bergeron won a face-off from Plekanec in the Montreal zone and reached across himself to deflect Torey Krug’s point shot past Price with 2:12 left in the middle period.

Subban has had two points in each game of the series.

Montreal coach Michel Therrien tweaked his lines, moving Vanek to the second unit with Plekanec and putting Brendan Gallagher on the top line.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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