BOSTON – It took Nathan Horton six years to make the playoffs.

Once he got there, he showed the value of patience.

Horton scored his second overtime goal of the postseason Wednesday night, waiting until 5:43 of the extra period in Game 7 to give Boston a 4-3 victory against the Montreal Canadiens and help the Bruins advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“Just getting to the playoffs is all I was really thinking about. This has been a dream come true,” said Horton, who never reached the postseason in the first six years of his career with Florida Panthers. “I’m really enjoying it. I’m enjoying it more every day.”

Boston will open the conference semifinals Saturday at Philadelphia with a chance to avenge last year’s epic collapse. The Bruins led that series 3-0 before Philadelphia came back. In Game 7 in Boston, the Bruins led 3-0 before losing 4-3.

“I get at least until midnight before I’ve got to start thinking about that,” said Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who stopped 34 shots.

Horton scored on his only shot of the night off a pass from Milan Lucic, setting off a celebration on the Bruins’ bench and in the stands. It was Boston’s third overtime win in the series, including Game 5 on Saturday night when Horton scored 9:03 into the second overtime.

“He’s been saving it for seven years, right?” Bruins Coach Claude Julien said with a smile. “So he had a lot of game-winning goals in him.”

A year after reaching the conference finals, the Canadiens were ousted by the Bruins for the second time in three years.

“We’re disappointed with the end result but you have to give credit to the Bruins,” Canadiens Coach Jacques Martin said. “Yes, we did have some injuries. We missed some soldiers but the ones that were dressed gave a really good effort.”

Carey Price made 30 saves, and Yannick Weber, Tomas Plekanec and P.K. Subban scored for the Canadiens. Montreal erased deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 but never led.

Montreal won the last of its NHL-record 23 Stanley Cups in 1993, its longest title drought.

“It’s a tough trophy to win,” Subban said. “I mean, you never know when it’s your year. But this year is not going to be ours.”

Johnny Boychuk and Mark Recchi scored in the first 5:33 to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. But Weber made it 2-1 with a power-play goal in the first and Plekanec tied it in the second with an unassisted, short-handed goal.

After Chris Kelly scored with just under 10 minutes left to give Boston a 3-2 lead, Subban tied it in the final two minutes, again on a power play.

The Bruins were 0 of 21 on the power play in the series.

The Canadiens won the first two games in Boston to swipe the home-ice advantage. Boston was 0-26 in series after falling behind 0-2.

But the Bruins came back to win three straight, including the first two in Montreal, and then Game 5 at home. The Habs won Game 6 on Tuesday night to force a seventh game in Boston.

 

NOTES: Lucic was back in the game one day after being given a major for boarding and a game misconduct in Game 6. Television cameras showed Thomas and Price tapping each other with their sticks as they left the ice at the end of the second period.