MONTREAL — Max Pacioretty’s slump is over.
The big left wing had a goal and an assist in the second period and Carey Price made 26 saves and the Montreal Canadiens blanked the Boston Bruins 4-0 on Monday night to force Game 7 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Game 7 is Wednesday night in Boston.
Pacioretty, who had only one assist in the first five games, scored and set up Thomas Vanek’s goal in the second period. Lars Eller scored in the first for Montreal and Vanek added his second of the game into an empty net with 3:56 left.
“I was just waiting for my time to pitch in offensively,” Pacioretty said.
“Obviously you wanted it to happen more often in the playoffs, but it’s two do-or-die games where I’ve scored a goal so I feel confident that I’m helping the team.
“You want to feel you’re helping the team win, and I think I did that tonight.”
Rookie Nathan Beaulieu, the Canadiens’ 2011 first-round draft pick who was given a surprise start by coach Michel Therrien, picked up an assist in his first NHL playoff game.
“I never played at a pace like that before,” the 21-year-old said. “It was incredible. It was good to get the first period under my belt and I felt I settled down after that.”
The Canadiens repeated the scenario of their 2011 first-round series against the Bruins, winning at home to force a Game 7. That year, they lost Game 7 in overtime. The Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Boston coach Claude Julien felt his team played well, but didn’t finish its chances.
“The second goal probably hurt us the most because we were spending a lot of time in their end and we had some great chances to tie the game, but that kind of turned the tide around,” Julien said. “I didn’t like the way they got their goals tonight.
“But we had more lines going than we’ve had this whole series. We spent a lot of time in the offensive zone, but if you hit posts and miss open nets. ... You’ve got to bury those chances. Tonight they came back to haunt us.”
The second period was marked by a remarkable 5:11 stretch without a whistle in which the Bruins bottled the Canadiens in their end for minutes at a time, only to see Milan Lucic miss Boston’s best scoring chance from the edge of the crease.
Soon after, Beaulieu flipped the puck up the center of the ice and saw it go off Loui Eriksson to Pacioretty, who won a race with Zdeno Chara and beat Rask between the pads at 15:24.
Ducks 4, Kings 3: In Anaheim, Devante Smith-Pelly scored two goals 1:23 apart in the second period, and Anaheim moved to the brink of the Western Conference finals with a 4-3 victory over Los Angeles Kings in Game 5.
John Gibson made 39 saves in his second career playoff start as the Ducks took a 3-2 lead in the second-round series with their third straight victory.
Nick Bonino and Jakob Silfverberg also scored for the Ducks, who jumped to a three-goal lead in the second period and hung on behind their 20-year-old rookie goalie, earning the first home victory by either team in the series.
Marian Gaborik scored two goals for the Kings, who will face their fifth elimination game of the postseason.
Game 6 is Wednesday at Staples Center.
Gaborik scored his NHL-best seventh and eighth goals of the postseason, including a redirection with 5:48 left to trim Anaheim’s lead to one goal.
Los Angeles pressed throughout the final minutes with a playoff-high 42 shots, but couldn’t beat Gibson for the equalizer.
Trevor Lewis also scored and Jonathan Quick stopped 20 shots for the Kings.
The Ducks snapped the Kings’ four-game road playoff winning streak dating to their 0-3 comeback in the first round against San Jose.