BOSTON (AP) – Marc Savard scored two power-play goals and the Boston Bruins moved two wins away from their first playoff series victory since 1999 with a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Top-seeded Boston took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series over No. 8 Montreal, which will play at home Monday night.

Savard also assisted on a power-play goal by Michael Ryder. Boston’s other goals were scored by Chuck Kobasew and Shane Hnidy, who replaced Matt Hunwick in the lineup after the defenseman had surgery to remove his spleen Saturday afternoon.

Alex Kovalev scored for Montreal.

The Bruins offense was much more potent than in the first game when the score was tied 2-2 until Zdeno Chara scored with 8:35 left. Phil Kessel’s empty-net goal gave Boston a 4-2 win Thursday night.

They scored on three of their first five power plays Saturday and outshot the Canadiens 26-21 through two periods before they focused on protecting the lead.

As their shooters kept putting pucks behind Carey Price, the crowd chanted, “Carey, Carey, Carey” at the goalie as they waved yellow towels with the words, “WE WANT IT” printed in black. Price was replaced by Jaroslav Halak to start the third period.

The Canadiens have won 24 of 32 playoff series between the teams, although they needed seven games to avoid being upset by the eighth-seeded Bruins last year. Boston has dominated Montreal this season, going 5-0-1 in the regular season.

Hunwick was hurt in Thursday’s game, probably when he was checked during the second period, team physician Dr. Peter Asnis said. He added that Hunwick felt “excellent” Saturday morning but later felt an increase in pain and was taken to a hospital where his spleen was removed. Asnis said it’s possible Hunwick could return to play during the playoffs.

Savard gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 9:59 of the first period with a 30-foot shot between Price’s right pad and the post with Sergei Kostitsyn in the penalty box for hooking.

Kobasew scored at 15:12 of the period after he passed the puck from behind the net to Mark Recchi, whose shot was stopped in a crowd in front of Price. Kobasew scored on the rebound.

Kovalev cut the lead to 2-1 with his second goal of the playoffs just 46 seconds into the second period. He sent a 30-foot shot from the left circle to the near side of goalie Tim Thomas, who had the NHL’s best goals-against average.

But less than five minutes later, the Bruins got that goal back when Hnidy scored at 5:45 on a perfect setup. P.J. Axelsson skated into the offensive zone with the puck and dropped it for the trailing Hnidy, who shot from about 35 feet from straight in front of Price.

Savard made it 4-1 on a give-and-go at 8:13 of the second, less than a minute after a penalty to Greg Metropolit, who played for Boston last season. Savard passed from the right side to Ryder in the left circle then headed toward the net. He took the return pass and beat Price from the bottom of the right circle.

The final goal came with 2.3 seconds left in the second. Thomas started the play with a long pass, and Savard fed Ryder from the left point. Ryder then fired from the left circle to the far side over Price’s glove.

Notes: Ryder played for the Canadiens last season but was benched for four of their 12 playoff games. … Boston’s Patrice Bergeron and Montreal’s Josh Gorges, who combined for just 53 penalty minutes during the regular season, traded punches midway through the third period.

AP-ES-04-18-09 2256EDT


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