After some strong play behind the net from Marchand - the rookie has been omnipresent in this series - Johnny Boychuk fired a shot that wafted past a screened Price at 3:31 of the first.
With the TD Garden rocking and the Habs on the ropes, a pair of failed clearing attempts - one by Michael Cammalleri and another by Hal Gill - saw the puck carom to Recchi two minutes later as he stood alone in the slot.
The 43-year-old former Hab had all the time in the world to pick his spot - middle stick-side - and Price was powerless to stop his precise wrist shot.
Then came the reply.
Resiliency became the Canadiens' hallmark in their run to the conference final last season, and this is a club that is sturdy enough between the ears not to be cowed.
After coach Jacques Martin used his timeout, Montreal began exerting more pressure, and when another former Hab, Michael Ryder, took a foolish hooking penalty on Tomas Plekanec, it was all the opening the visitors needed.
Cammalleri, who leads the playoffs in scoring, spotted defenceman Yannick Weber cutting to the net on the power-play, and the Swiss accepted his pinpoint feed and neatly wired it high past Tim Thomas' glove.
Events like that have a way of prompting a very strong emotion in an arena that has seen as many recent game seven disappointments as the Garden, and its name is dread.
Can it have been a surprise, then, that the Boston power-play would do more harm than good early in the second period?
With Lars Eller in the box for cross-checking, Boston's Dennis Seidenberg made a wayward pass to Recchi at centre ice, which the latter tried to corral with his skates - instead Plekanec nipped in and went in alone on Tim Thomas. His finish was cool, low to the stick side, and the capacity crowd deflated like a wilted birthday balloon.
As the same power-play wore to its inexorable conclusion - another successful Montreal kill - scattered boos could be heard.
At least the arena d.j. has a sense of humour about such things: with the Habs turning the screw at 2-2, he played the Ramons' I Wanna Be Sedated during a break in action.