Habs force Caps showdown, Bruins and Chicago win

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Jaroslav Halak made 53 saves as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Washington Capitals 4-1 Monday, again avoiding elimination and setting up a seventh game showdown.

But there will be no Game Seven for the Nashville Predators or the Buffalo Sabres, who were both eliminated from the playoffs after defeats by the Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins.

In Canada, Halak, the young Slovakian netminder, turned aside all 18 shots he faced in the first period as the eighth-seeded Canadiens again frustrated the National Hockey League's top team and erased a 3-1 series deficit.

"He was above and beyond the call of duty," Montreal winger Michael Cammalleri told reporters of his team's netminder. "We expected and needed him to play a good game, but tonight was one of those superb performances.

"It'll be on ESPN or TSN Classic tomorrow."

The seventh and deciding game of the first round series will be played in Washington Wednesday.

Cammalleri had two goals in the first period to lead Montreal's charge, while Maxim Lapierre scored on a slap shot early in the third to stretch the lead to 3-0.

The Capitals got on the board with an Eric Fehr goal with less than five minutes left in regulation, but Montreal's Tomas Plekanec sealed the victory with an empty-net goal with less than a minute remaining.

The win was Montreal's first at home during the series.

The Capitals, who won the Presidents' Trophy for having the most points in the regular season, dominated the action with 54 shots to Montreal's 22, but could only manage one goal for the second straight game.

Alex Ovechkin had eight shots at goal but did not register a point.

In Boston, the Bruins advanced to the second round of the postseason with a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

David Krejci scored twice as the sixth-seeded Bruins completed a 4-2 best-of-seven series upset over the third-seeded Sabres.

The Bruins will play either the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round.

In Nashville, the Chicago Blackhawks wrapped up their first-round series with a 5-3 triumph over the Predators.

The Blackhawks scored four times in an explosive first period that featured seven goals and John Madden put in the final score with eight seconds left to give Chicago the 4-2 best-of-seven series win.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Edited by Patrick Johnston; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)