BOSTON -- Donald Audette scored three goals and Saku Koivu, sidelined most of the season by cancer, assisted on two of them as the Montreal Canadiens returned to the playoffs with a 5-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
The Bruins, who finished first in the Eastern Conference, lost the home ice advantage in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal despite outshooting the eighth-seeded Canadiens 32-27.
Montreal, whose 23 Stanley Cups are the most in NHL history, missed the playoffs the last three seasons and Boston fell short the last two. Thursday's game started the 29th playoff series between the teams, most in the NHL.
The best-of-seven series resumes Sunday night in Boston.
It was tied at 2 after two periods before Audette scored in the third at 2:18 and again at 10:00.
Doug Gilmour and Gino Odjick also scored for Montreal. Odjick's goal completed the scoring with 2:44 left.
Like Koivu, Audette missed much of the season. He was sidelined for 49 games with a lacerated left forearm before returning March 30. Koivu resumed playing April 10 after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in September.
Bill Guerin and Joe Thornton scored for Boston.
Blackhawks 2, Blues 1
ST. LOUIS -- Alexander Karpovtsev scored with 3:10 to go as Chicago beat St. Louis in the opening game of their first round Western Conference playoff series.
The defenseman had only one goal in the regular season, Oct. 11 against the Coyotes, and missed the last seven games after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery April 3.
Kyle Calder, who hadn't scored in 23 games, also scored for the Blackhawks.
Maple Leafs 3, Islanders 1
TORONTO -- Tie Domi scored the go-ahead goal in the third period as Toronto rallied to beat New York Islanders in Game 1 of their first-round series Thursday night.
Domi, playing on Toronto's top line with Mats Sundin and Mikael Renberg, scored just his fourth career playoff goal.
Avalanche 4, Kings 3
DENVER -- Peter Forsberg didn't take long to have an impact for the Colorado Avalanche.
Forsberg had two assists in his first game in nearly a year, and Greg de Vries scored the game-winner with 5:34 left as the Avalanche beat Los Angeles in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Zigmund Palffy had two goals for Los Angeles, which hasn't won on the road in seven games (0-6-1).
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.