BOSTON – For the Boston Bruins, a shootout loss was an improvement over a shutout loss.
Patrice Bergeron’s goal with 52 seconds left in regulation helped the Bruins avoid a historic third straight shutout, but Michael Cammalleri scored in the shootout to give the Montreal Canadiens a 2-1 victory over Boston on Thursday night.
“We scored,” Bruins forward Blake Wheeler said. “Obviously, that’s a positive we can take out of the game.”
Boston had not scored in 192 minutes six seconds, dating to Vladimir Sobotka’s goal at 7:02 of the third period against Edmonton on Saturday. The Bruins had not been shut out in three straight games since Eddie Shore and the 1928-29 squad – which went on to earn Boston’s first Stanley Cup title – scored just once over five games from Feb. 2-14, 1929.
The Bruins were less than a minute away from matching the ignominious feat when Bergeron, with goalie Tim Thomas pulled for an extra attacker, stuffed the rebound of Zdeno Chara’s shot past Carey Price.
“At least it’s out of our heads now,” Bergeron said. “It’s one step forward to get that goal and get that point. But one point is not good enough.”
In the 700th game between the archrivals, Thomas made 25 saves, giving up only Glen Metropolit’s first-period goal and Cammalleri’s in the shootout. The Bruins earned a point against the Canadiens for the eighth straight game, and Montreal has not won in Boston in regulation since the end of the 2007-08 season.
Price stopped 42 Boston shots for his first win in more than a month, but he failed to earn his first shutout in more than a year.
“I hadn’t won in six games, and that was not the time to get upset,” Price said. “I had to refocus in a hurry because if I let it slip, then I lose another game.”
Bergeron, who also had a goal disallowed in the second period, couldn’t convert in the shootout. When Mark Recchi was also stopped, Price had his first win since the second game of the season.
It was still 1-0 with 2:25 left in the second period when Marco Sturm put the puck on Price’s stick and Bergeron, trailing the play, poked it in. The goal was put on the board but disallowed after the video review.
“In my head there was a moment where you go, ‘That figures,”‘ Thomas said. “But then the other voice in my head rebounded right away and said, ‘No. We’re not going to say, “Here we go again.” We’ve got to do something.’ I was trying to send some positive mental energy to the team to do something.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he never saw his players feeling sorry for themselves.
“I won’t let that happen,” he said. “It’s our job to get ourselves out of it. That’s where we’re at.”
The Bruins were 0-for-3 on the power play, extending that scoreless streak to 20 advantages over seven games; they are last in the NHL on the power play.
Notes: Montreal’s Ryan White, who had an assist in the first period, and Tom Pyatt both played their first NHL games. … Thomas took a puck off the goal line for a save with 11:35 left in the second, and it held up under review. … Montreal had allowed at least one power-play goal in each of its previous five games. … Thomas’ outlet pass sent the Bruins on a 3-on-1 break in the first period. Jaroslav Spacek helped break it up, but went into the boards and was slow to get up.