Bruins aim to even series with Habs

( - The Boston Bruins hope to avoid falling in a 3-1 series hole on Thursday when they battle the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 at the Bell Centre.

The top-seeded Bruins find themselves down 2-1 in this Eastern Conference semifinal against the rival Habs. The defending conference champions lost the opener in overtime on home ice before rallying for a Game 2 victory to even the series with Montreal.

The Canadiens, however, were able to hold a lead in Game 3, taking Tuesday's home tilt by a 4-2 score to regain the upper hand in the series.

Carey Price stopped 26 shots for the Habs on Tuesday. It marked the first time all series Montreal was able to protect a two-goal advantage. The Habs were up 2-0 in Game 1, blew it but won in double overtime, then squandered a 3-1 edge late in a 5-3 defeat in Game 2. Things were different in Game 3, however, and the Habs can gain a stranglehold on Boston with another home win on Thursday.

P.K. Subban and Dale Weise scored on breakaways, Tomas Plekanec tallied the first goal of the contest and Lars Eller the last, to help Montreal take a 2-1 edge in the best-of-seven set.

"We need energy from every line. As you can see, it was crucial. When we're not producing energy, it's bad for us," noted Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien. "We took the lead and kept it. That was a big boost. I liked the mindset with our team from the start. We needed to have the right attitude and approach, to play with passion in front of our fans."

Boston, which fell to 14-2 under head coach Claude Julien in Game 3s, are aiming for a rebound effort on Thursday as it tries to even the series at 2-2 before heading back home for Saturday's Game 5 clash.

Prior to Tuesday, the Bruins' lone loss under Julien in a Game 3 was against the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference semifinals, a 3-2 overtime defeat on May 6, 2009. Boston lost that series four games to three.

Having played from behind on the scoreboard for a large part of this series, Julien is hoping his team can get off to a better start in Game 4.

"Our team just, again, wasn't good enough at the start to give ourselves a chance here," said Julien. "So we need to rebound here and make sure that we're ready for the start of the game at the drop of the puck."

Patrice Bergeron and Jarome Iginla tallied for the Bruins, while Vezina Trophy finalist Tuukka Rask gave up three goals on 25 shots for the visitors.

After Tuesday's game, Bergeron echoed his coach's sentiments about coming out ready to play tonight.

"Well, definitely not the effort that you want, and we got the result because of it," said Bergeron. "In the playoffs, it's about not getting too low and too high, so right now, it's about doing the adjustments and getting ready for Game 4. We need a lot more."

The Bruins also hope to contain Subban, who, with a goal and an assist on Tuesday, recorded his fifth multi-point effort of the 2014 playoffs. The 2013 Norris Trophy winner leads all defensemen with 11 points (3G, 8A), and is riding a six-game point streak.

This series is the 34th playoff meeting between these Original Six rivals. The Canadiens are 24-9 in the previous 33 series, but the Bruins have won the last two (2008, 2011).