Milan Jurcina and Stanislav Chistov scored 1:11 apart early in the third period to lead the Boston Bruins to a 4-2 victory over Montreal on Saturday night, ending the Canadiens’ five-game winning streak.
Marco Sturm had a power-play goal for Boston, and Zdeno Chara had the other score to help the Bruins win their third straight in front of their first sellout since their season opener.
“We had a talk before the game that this was the biggest game of the year,” Boston centre Marc Savard said. “These guys were hot. It was an awesome crowd. Hopefully they keep coming back.”
It was a lively crowd of 17,565, filled with many Montreal fans that could be heard chanting “Let’s Go Habs!” a number of times. The loud cheers started before the teams took the ice for pre-game warmups and continued until the Boston fans countered with chants of “Let’s Go Bruins!” and “U-S-A!” that drowned out their visitors during the third period.
Michael Ryder scored a short-handed goal for the Canadiens, who lost for just the second time in eight games. Michael Komisarek had Montreal’s other goal.
Tim Thomas, coming off his second career shutout Thursday, stopped 20 shots for Boston. Cristobal Huet made 27 saves for the Canadiens.
“It was the best atmosphere we’ve had this year,” Thomas said. “In the first period, I actually had to calm myself down because I was too excited.”
With the score tied 2-2, Savard got a loose puck in the corner, circled the boards and sent a pass to Jurcina, who beat Huet inside the right post from the point for his first goal of the season at 6:11.
“It wasn’t tipped or anything. It went straight down and I wasn’t very happy about that one,” Huet said. “It was a little breakdown and enough for them to win the game.”
Chistov showed a burst of speed, cutting around Komisarek and slipping a shot between Huet’s pads for his second of the season, making it 4-2.
“It’s always important to be successful in this league,” Boston coach Dave Lewis said of the goals by unlikely scorers. “You can’t keep counting on the same three, four guys.”
The Canadiens, unbeaten in regulation since a 6-5 loss to the Bruins in Montreal on Dec. 4, erased a two-goal deficit midway through the second period.
“Those are the games that sometimes happen,” Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. “We’ve had a few of those on our side, but Tim Thomas was excellent tonight. He made the save when they needed it.”
Montreal cut it to 2-1 when Komisarek scored on a deflected shot from the left point with 3:54 left in the opening period. Ryder’s short-handed score tied it 12:08 into the second.
After Alex Kovalev was given minor penalties for tripping and unsportsmanlike conduct, Saku Koivu took a loose puck and rushed out of the zone, setting up a 2-on-1 break. He slipped a cross-ice pass to Ryder, who fired a shot past a diving Thomas.
The Bruins grabbed a 1-0 lead on Chara’s goal 8:29 into the first period when his slap shot from the left point appeared to take a short hop past Huet. They made it 2-0 on Sturm’s power-play goal 4:14 later when he one-timed Bergeron’s pass from the right circle.
Thomas kept the game scoreless with a couple of splendid stops in the opening 4½ minutes. He robbed Mike Johnson with a sliding glove stop and made a diving glove save on Sergei Samsonov.
Notes: Bergeron extended his consecutive point streak to eight games, one short of his career best set earlier this season. … Bruins winger P.J. Axelsson missed his 10th straight game with a left foot injury. … Montreal plays its next three games away from the Bell Centre. … The Canadiens had won the prior two meetings against the Bruins after losing the teams’ first of the season. … Bruins D Andrew Alberts said after the game that he had lost vision in his left eye for a while after taking a stick to the face, but it was getting clearer. He was on the ice for a while before being helped off in the third.