Carey Price returned as Montreal’s starting playoff goalie with his third postseason shutout, Brian Gionta scored twice and the visiting Canadiens opened the series with a 2-0 win over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
Price started one of the Canadiens’ 19 playoff games last year when they reached the Eastern Conference finals. Jaroslav Halak started the others but was traded to the St. Louis Blues in June.
This season Price started 70 games and on Thursday he turned aside 31 shots.
Gionta scored at 2:44 of the first period on a pass from Scott Gomez from the left boards. Gionta and Matthew Darche both got behind the Bruins’ defense with Darche directly in front of goalie Tim Thomas and Gionta on the right side of the crease. Darche let the puck go by and Gionta put it in between Thomas’ left side and the post.
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The game was played cleanly without any fights between the teams that saw several physical confrontations during the regular season.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday night in Boston.
Sabres 1, at Flyers 0: Ryan Miller stopped 35 shots for his second career postseason shutout and Patrick Kaleta scored to lift Buffalo to a victory over Philadelphia in the opener of the Eastern Conference playoff series.
Miller stopped every shot under all types of pressure and carried the Sabres to the clutch opening win. The teams have met eight times in the postseason and the Game 1 winner won the series each time.
Kaleta snapped the scoreless tie early in the third period when he powered a rebound past rookie Sergei Bobrovsky.
No team was more resilient in last year’s playoffs than the Flyers. They trailed Boston 3-0 in the East semifinals before taking the series and playing until a Game 6 loss to Chicago in the Stanley Cup finals.
Game 2 is Saturday in Philadelphia.
At Sharks 3, Kings 2 (OT): Joe Pavelski scored on a wrist shot with 5:16 left in overtime to lift San Jose. Game 2 is Saturday in San Jose.
Los Angeles Kings forward Justin Williams returned from a dislocated right shoulder to play in the postseason opener against the San Jose Sharks. Williams had 22 goals and 35 assists while playing in the Kings’ first 73 games. Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg remains sidelined with a second-degree MCL sprain in his left knee, but he took a tender first step and skated for about 15 minutes.
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
FIRST ROUND (BEST OF SEVEN)
Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh, 4 p.m., CBUT
N.Y. Rangers at Washington, 4:30 p.m., Versus
Chicago at Vancouver, 7 p.m., Versus, 950-AM, 1380-AM
Nashville at Anaheim, 7:30 p.m.