BOSTON - The Boston Bruins lost a playoff series last year when they had a 3-0 lead. So a mere 3-2 edge over the Montreal Canadiens guarantees nothing.
Coach Claude Julien knows how tough closing can be.
"I think we experienced that last year," he said after Boston's 2-1, double-overtime victory Saturday night. "You don't want to bring it up, but we know how hard it is. We've got to go to Montreal knowing we've got to be ready. Montreal will come out and play the game of their lives."
The Bruins won their second overtime game in three days when Nathan Horton scored at 9:03 of the second extra session.
But they remember one of the darkest stretches in club history when they lost four straight games to the Philadelphia Flyers — and squandered a 3-0 lead in Game 7 — last year in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
On the winning goal, Montreal goalie Carey Price stopped Andrew Ference's wrist shot from 30 feet but couldn't control the rebound. Horton put the puck into the open right side of the net for his second goal of the playoffs.
"I saw the rebound come out," Horton said. "It was like it was in slow motion. It was just sitting there."
The win was the first by the home team in the first-round series.
"I felt confident," Julien said. "I liked our composure in overtime. We were making some strong plays. We didn't really panic."
The Bruins, who have won three straight games, can end the series Tuesday night in Montreal.
In Game 4, also in Montreal, Boston won 5-4 when Michael Ryder scored at 1:59 of overtime after the Bruins overcame deficits of 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3.
On Saturday, Horton came through in a well-played, tiring game.
"I just saw a shot," Price said. "It hit my pad ... and they buried it."
Boston's Tim Thomas made a brilliant save at 5:35 of the second overtime on a 2-on-1 Montreal break. Travis Moen passed from the left side across the slot to Brian Gionta, and Thomas slid across the crease to turn aside Gionta's shot from 5 feet.
"My thought was just trying to get it on the net and get it over him," Gionta said. "He moves well side to side and he just read it."
At 8:08 of the first overtime, Price nearly gave the game to the Bruins when he whiffed as he attempted to clear the puck from the crease. He then fell backward on it as his mask fell off while Brad Marchand was just a few feet away.
"We were getting very tired," Marchand said. "Guys were starting to cramp up. I'm pretty tired right now but it was a pretty special feeling being out there, very intense."
Thomas made 44 saves, and Price stopped 49 shots.
The Bruins are 0-26 in series they trailed 2-0. But the Canadiens have lost the last two series in which they won the first two games — in 1996 against the New York Rangers and in 2006 against the Carolina Hurricanes, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.
After two scoreless periods, Marchand gave Boston the lead at 4:33 of the third period before Jeff Halpern tied it at 13:56.
Marchand passed from behind Price's left side across the crease. The puck hit Boston's Patrice Bergeron and trickled back to Marchand, who put it in the open side of the net to the left of Price.
PHT: Tuukka Rask has frustrated the Blackhawks to the tune of a 1.22 GAA and .959 save percentage in the Stanley Cup Final. Can Chicago find any luck in Game 4?
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Rask credits a team effort on defense
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