(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Bruins used a ferocious third-period comeback to take Game 2 from the Montreal Canadiens and knot the Eastern Conference semifinals at one game apiece.
The Presidents' Trophy winners will now aim for their first lead of this best- of-seven set when they visit Montreal's Bell Centre for Game 3 on Tuesday.
Facing the prospect of a two-game hole in the conference semis, the Bruins sent everything they could at Carey Price. One shot knuckled into the ice and skipped past the Montreal Canadiens goalie to tie the game. Barely two minutes later, Price couldn't get all the way over to stop Reilly Smith.
Smith scored the go-ahead marker during a four-goal flurry to end the third period as Boston came back to beat Montreal, 5-3, in Game 2 on Saturday after dropping Game 1 in double overtime.
The Bruins rebounded from Thursday's Game 1 loss, when P.K. Subban scored on a Montreal power play 4:17 into the second overtime, and they rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the second meeting with 13 1/2 minutes to play.
"We've been a strong third period team the entire year," said Smith. "We started getting bounces. ... It ended up working out great, but it's tough when you're relying on the third period to come back."
After Thomas Vanek scored his second goal of the game for Montreal -- both on deflections from Subban -- Dougie Hamilton beat Price with a high wrist shot from the point at 10:56 of the third off a pass from Brad Marchand.
Just over three minutes later, Patrice Bergeron picked a loose puck off the wall, and his harmless shot from the right boards looked like it had little chance of going into until it took that funky hop next to defenseman Francis Bouillon and several feet in front of Price, going in over his shoulder.
Smith's winner with 3:32 left came after a cross-ice pass from Torey Krug was tipped by Brendan Gallagher, slowing it down before it reached Smith in the right circle for his near-side wrist shot.
"They poured it on at the end of the game," said Price. "I thought they got pretty lucky. They were playing desperate ... and they found a way to put it in the net."
Milan Lucic added an empty-netter and Daniel Paille scored earlier for the top-seeded Bruins.
Tuukka Rask made 25 saves for Boston, which also lost Game 1 to Detroit in the first round, then won the next four to advance to the second round for the fifth time in six years. The Bruins, Stanley Cup winners in 2011, made it to the Cup Finals for the second time in three seasons last spring before bowing out to Chicago in six games.
Mike Weaver had a goal for Montreal and Price gave up four on 34 shots. He had 25 saves on 26 shots in the first two periods.
"I thought we put ourselves in a position where we thought we could take the win," said Subban. "But it's very tough to go into an opponent's building and steal two games in the playoffs. It's not an easy thing to do. And unless you play a full 60 (minutes) you're not going to be able to do it. We didn't play a full 60 today."
The Original Six rivals are meeting in the playoffs for the 34th time. The Canadiens are 24-9 in the previous 33 series, but the Bruins have won the last two (2008, 2011).
Game 4 is set for Thursday in Montreal. The Bruins and Habs split two meetings at the Bell Centre during the 2013-14 regular season, but Boston has claimed four of the past six road encounters in this series.