Canadiens win their way to Eastern finals, Kings-Ducks square
AP Friday, May 16, 2014, 12:05 am TWN
BOSTON -- Montreal reached the NHL Eastern Conference finals with a 3-1 win at Boston in Game 7 on Wednesday, setting up a series against the New York Rangers.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles squared its series against Anaheim by beating the Ducks 2-1, sending their series also to a decisive Game 7.
Montreal goaltender Carey Price stopped 29 shots while Dale Weise, Max Pacioretty and Daniel Briere scored for the Canadiens, who advanced to the conference finals for just the second time since winning the most recent of their NHL-record 24 Stanley Cup titles in 1993.
Jarome Iginla scored and Tuukka Rask made 15 saves for Boston.
The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and returned to the finals last year, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games. Boston finished with the best record in the regular season this year, but its road stopped against the Original Six rival in another classic playoff series.
In front of boisterous crowds on both sides of the border, the Canadiens won the 34th playoff series between the two clubs — the ninth that went the seven-game distance. And, despite giving up home-ice advantage, Montreal silenced the Boston fans quickly.
Just 2:18 into the game, Briere dug a pass out of the left corner and centered to Weise, who redirected it past Rask. The Canadiens made it 2-0 midway through the second period when David Desharnais chased down a loose puck to set up a 2-on-1 with Pacioretty, who one-timed it past Rask.
On the other side of the country, Trevor Lewis scored his fourth goal of this postseason to help the Kings edge the Ducks and lock their series 3-3.
Jonathan Quick made 21 saves and Jake Muzzin scored an early goal for the Kings, who ended their three-game skid with another sturdy defensive effort at home.
Los Angeles improved to 6-1 over the past two seasons in playoff games where they needed to win to avoid elimination.
The winner of this series between Southern California neighbors will face defending champion Chicago in the Western Conference finals.
Kyle Palmieri scored and rookie goalie John Gibson stopped 21 shots for the top-seeded Ducks, who missed the chance to clinch their first trip to the Western Conference finals since 2007.
The Kings again proved their postseason credentials. After winning the Stanley Cup in 2012 and returning to the conference finals last year, Los Angeles has shown impressive resolve in this postseason, having come from 0-3 down to stun San Jose in the first round and, on Wednesday, stopping Anaheim's momentum from three-straight wins.
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