Montreal at Boston

Bruins cool off Canadiens, expand Northeast lead to 12 points

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- Tim Thomas told his Boston teammates not to get too worked up over a visit from the archrival Canadiens. After all, it was merely a regular-season game in January that wouldn't make up for being eliminated from the playoffs by Montreal last spring.

"But when the crowd gets into it like that and the teams play with that much energy, it felt like the playoffs last year," the Bruins goalie said Tuesday night after stopping 34 shots in a 3-1 victory against the Canadiens. "It was one of the funnest games I've played this year."

Zdeno Chara scored a pair of power-play goals for Boston, which is running away from the Eastern Conference one season after barely qualifying for the playoffs.

The Bruins, who haven't won a postseason series since 1999, forced the Canadiens to a seventh game in the first round last year, but have bigger plans this time.

Boston leads the East with 68 points -- 11 ahead of Washington and 12 in front of Montreal and the New York Rangers. The attendance of 17,565 was Boston's 11th sellout of the season, and though there were a fair amount of Habs fans in the crowd that just added to the intensity on the ice.

"It was definitely a playoff-type atmosphere," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I'm glad we had our fans behind us. It was nice to be in Boston for this one."

There was a fight in the scoreless first period and a skirmish in the second when Thomas came to the defense of defenseman Aaron Ward after he was hit from behind by Andrei Kostitsyn.

Ward skated off on his own, but did not return; when Kostitsyn cut in front of the net, Thomas came out of the crease and cross-checked him to the ice. Kostitsyn, who had the Canadiens' only goal, was given a five-minute penalty for boarding and Thomas was assessed two minutes for roughing.

"I'm going to let the league look into that," Julien said. "I guess the big thing with me is it's not the first time this guy has done that. I don't like to see that happening over and over from the same guys."

The Bruins goalie said afterward that he reacted to the sound of the hit, but after seeing the replay it might not have been that bad. Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau thought the referee overreacted, too.

"I don't get the five minutes," he said. "I saw the replay and I didn't think it was a penalty."

But Julien, who has lost phenom Patrice Bergeron in each of the past two seasons to concussions, said he thought his players were tired of seeing their teammates injured by hits from behind.

"We're obviously a little sensitive to that," Julien said.

Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves for Montreal, which had won four consecutive games and scored five or more goals in each of them. The Canadiens lost in regulation for the second time in 12 games.

The Bruins were without four of their top forwards, losing Bergeron to a concussion, Phil Kessel to mononucleosis, Marco Sturm to a knee injury and Milan Lucic to an undisclosed injury. Chara picked up the slack, scoring on a rebound to tie it in the second period, then adding a go-ahead goal with 1:36 left in the period when his one-timer deflected off the stick of defenseman Andrei Markov and into the net.

It was Chara's eighth career two-goal game.

Thomas is 9-1 in his past 10 starts. He helped protect a one-goal lead in the third when he stopped Tom Kostopoulos with his right pad with a little less than five minutes left, then used the full extension of his glove to stop Kostitsyn with 2:16 to play.

Notes

  • Kessel, the team's leading goal-scorer, was placed on injured reserve. He is expected to miss two to four weeks. His absence snapped a streak of 167 consecutive games played.
  • Julien and Carbonneau will share the bench at the Jan. 25 All-Star Game in Montreal.
  • Montreal outshot Boston 17-9 in the first.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak watches one of Zdeno Chara's (33) two goals zip by him.  (Getty Images)
Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak watches one of Zdeno Chara's (33) two goals zip by him. (Getty Images)

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Scoreboard
Montreal (25-11-6)0101
Boston  (32-7-4) «0213
Three Stars
T. Thomas
BOS


Saves: 34
Save Pct.: .971
Z. Chara
BOS


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
C. Kobasew
BOS


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
03:24Power Play - Andrei Kostitsyn (15), Backhand Shot. Assist: Kostitsyn, Markov
08:23Power Play - Zdeno Chara (8), Snap Shot. Assist: Kobasew, Ward
18:24Power Play - Zdeno Chara (9), Slap Shot. Assist: Wideman, Krejci
3RD PERIOD
18:49David Krejci (17), Snap Shot. Assist: Ryder, Wheeler
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
09:45Stuart, 5 min, Fighting
09:45Chipchura, 5 min, Fighting
19:21Kovalev, 2 min, Interference
2ND PERIOD
02:35Ryder, 2 min, Hooking
05:13Chara, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
06:42Brisebois, 2 min, Hooking
10:40Ward, 2 min, Holding
14:04Krejci, 2 min, High-Sticking
14:30Kostitsyn, 5 min, Boarding
14:30Thomas, 2 min, Roughing
17:01Hamrlik, 2 min, Cross-Checking
3RD PERIOD
02:15Kostitsyn, 2 min, Tripping
Shots On Goal
 123T
Montreal1711735
Boston9101029
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Jaroslav Halak59:04263
Tim Thomas59:57341
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Montreal1-for-5
Boston2-for-5
Game Information
Attendance - 17565
Referees - Wes McCauley, Chris Lee
Linesmen - Jean Morin, Brian Murphy
 
Other Games
Colo 3 Final
Colu 4
NJ 5 Final
Van 3
Pitt 4 Final
Phi 2
Pho 3 Final
Min 6
Car 1 Final
Ott 5
TB 1 Final
SJ 7
Edm 5 Final
Wash 2
StL 1 Final
Cal 3
NYR 2 Final
NYI 1
Nash 2 Final
Tor 0