For the second consecutive game, the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens took their battle to overtime.

And for the third straight contest, the B's came out winners.

In a tense, well-played thriller at the Garden that went to double overtime — and looked nothing like the mistake-filled first four games of this Eastern Conference first-round playoff series — Nathan Horton scored at 9:03 of the fifth period to lift the B's to a 2-1 victory and a 3-2 advantage in the best-of-seven set.

The B's can clinch the series with a win in Montreal in Game 6 on Tuesday night. If they can't seal the deal at the Bell Centre, a Game 7 will be played on Wednesday night at the Garden.

On Horton's winner, defenseman Andrew Ference took a short pass from Milan Lucic, moved down to the top of the left circle and snapped a shot on Montreal goalie Carey Price. Horton outmuscled Canadiens defenseman Roman Hamrlik at the right side of the crease and popped home the rebound.

"We knew it was going to be a greasy goal and, you know, it sure was," Horton said.

Both B's goalie Tim Thomas (44 saves) and Price (49) were spectacular. Thomas came out the winner in this duel, thanks in great part to an incredible save he made on Brian Gionta on a 2-on-1 in 5:36 of the second OT, sliding across and stopping the shot with his glove.

"That was without a doubt his best game of the series," coach Claude Julien said. "He said the best was yet to come and he backed it up."

While the first four games were characterized by turnovers and questionable goals, this one was as entertaining for the stickler of execution as it was for the casual fan.