BOSTON – The Bruins enjoyed a rare lopsided victory against the Montreal Canadiens and ended a long drought in the process.
Marco Sturm and Stephane Yelle each scored two goals and Boston snapped a 12-game losing streak against Montreal with a 6-1 victory Thursday night.
“You lose eight in a row in the regular season, you question yourself and take a mental beating,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “After the playoffs last season and how we’ve played against them this season, I don’t think there is a complex anymore.”
On a night when most of Boston focused on the NFL game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets, the Bruins extended their winning streak to five games and won for the eighth time in nine contests. They had gone 0-10-2 against the Canadiens in the previous 12 meetings.
“I think they just wanted it more,” Canadiens goalie Carey Price said. “They had more of a fight and they put in the effort, and we didn’t.”
Manny Fernandez made 27 saves and is 4-0-1 in his last five starts. Boston’s tandem of Fernandez and Tim Thomas has allowed only nine goals in eight games.
Boston’s fourth line of Chuck Kobasew, Yelle and Shawn Thornton combined for a season-high seven points.
“When you have all your lines going it is definitely an advantage,” Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara said. “Being able to use your whole lineup is crucial especially during a heavy schedule.”
Boston earned a 2-1 shootout victory on Wednesday night in Chicago and will play for the third time in four nights at New York against the Rangers on Saturday.
The Bruins led 3-0 in the first period on goals by Thornton, Yelle and Sturm. Thornton took advantage of Mike Komisarek’s turnover to make it 1-0 at 2:31. Yelle doubled the lead with 3:00 left in the period. Sturm added a power-play goal with about six seconds remaining.
“Probably one of the better games I’ve seen since I’ve been with this organization,” Sturm said. “It’s great to see we are heading in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go.”
Price struggled throughout, and he hit a low point when he was whistled for delay of game early in the second. Sturm capitalized with his second man-advantage goal of the night, redirecting in Patrice Bergeron’s shot for a 4-0 lead at 3:44. The crowd followed with a derisive “Carey, Carey” chant as frustrated Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau looked on.
“They’re in the NHL, they lost 12 games in a row against us, so I know they’re not going to come in here and play easy or play tired or act like they are tired,” Carbonneau said. “We had no effort … no emotion.”
Saku Koivu cut Boston’s lead to 4-1 when he spun around the back of the net and beat Fernandez, who was out of position after mishandling the puck with 6:26 left in the second.
“They’d gone a lot of games against us without a win and we just weren’t ready, for whatever reason,” Koivu said.
The surprising Bruins (10-3-3) are three points behind the Rangers for first place in the Eastern Conference and have outscored opponents 28-13 over the last nine.
Milan Lucic added his fifth goal 4:42 into the third, and Yelle capped the scoring with his second of the night and third of the season just over four minutes later. Yelle also assisted on Thornton’s goal and tied a career high with three points.
Notes: Montreal had its longest winning streak against an opponent in the 1974-75 season when the Canadiens beat the Washington Capitals 23 straight times. … Sturm has five goals and two assists during Boston’s winning streak. … Price lost to Boston for the first time in his career. … The last time Boston had 10 wins in its first 16 games was in 2002-03. … Boston has allowed one power-play goal in 21 chances.