MONTREAL – The post-Jaroslav Halak era in Montreal is off to a bleak start.
Patrice Bergeron scored twice, Carey Price gave up four goals on the first eight shots he faced and the Boston Bruins beat the Canadiens 4-2 in NHL exhibition play Wednesday.
Price is being counted on to shore up the goaltending in Montreal after the Canadiens dealt fan favourite netminder Halak to the St. Louis Blues in the off-season.
The Bell Centre crowd chanted Price’s name during his pre-game introduction, but the chants turned to jeers as he left the ice to be replaced by back-up Curtis Sanford with half the game remaining.
“We all got his (Price) back and we’re all supporting him,” said Habs forward Mike Cammalleri in defence of his goaltender, who may have suffered a slight ego bruising.
“No one in here is booing him, so if everyone wants to identify with this team, we’re all supporting him so jump on board,” Cammalleri continued.
The Canadiens didn’t make Price available for comment.
Price’s counterpart Tuukka Rask was sensational, stopping 36 of the 38 shots he faced.
“I felt good but I don’t feel the same as I would after 20 games. It’s not a shutout, but I’ve got be happy. Not many mistakes,” the young Finnish goaltender said.
Nathan Horton and Johnny Boychuk also scored for Boston, while Maxim Lapierre and Tomas Plekanec replied for Montreal.
Horton didn’t take long to make a strong impression in his first game as a Bruin. Acquired in an off-season trade that sent defenceman Dennis Wideman and draft picks to the Florida Panthers, Horton beat Price clean on the short side with a wrist shot 1:31 into the first period.
Boychuk made it 2-0 as the Bruins capitalized four seconds into their first power play. Tyler Seguin, the second overall selection in this summer’s draft, picked up his first NHL assist.
Bergeron took advantage of a nice play set up by Daniel Paille as the Bruins went up 3-0 in the first period. Bergeron added his second of the night 2:17 into the second period after stripping Jaroslav Spacek of the puck and beating Price with a backhand-forehand deke while the Bruins were short handed.
Lapierre gave the Bell Centre faithful something to cheer about, as he scored short-handed make the score 4-1 on a nice feed from Plekanec.
Plekanec made the score 4-2 with a power-play goal with just 40 seconds remaining in the second.
The Bruins are on their way to Rochester from Montreal to take on the Florida Panthers, while the Canadiens are off until Friday, when they will welcome the Ottawa Senators to the Bell Centre.
Notes: The Canadiens played their first of five exhibition games in six nights. … Boston dressed five players that participated in their first NHL game: Jordan Caron, Tyler Seguin, Matt Bartowski, Ryan Spooner and Max Sauve. … Bruins defenceman Andrew McQuaid beat Canadiens forward Andrew Conboy easily in a fight at 10:01 of the second period. … The Canadiens first round selection in the 2009 entry draft Louis Leblanc was held scoreless and finished the night at minus-1.