MONTREAL – Max Pacioretty scored his ninth goal in the last nine games and the surging Montreal Canadiens stretched their unbeaten run to nine with a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
Tomas Plekanec also scored for Montreal (18-9-3), which jumped a point ahead of Boston (18-8-2) into first place in the Atlantic Division—although the Bruins have two games in hand. The Canadiens are 8-0-1 in their last nine.
Gregory Campbell scored for Boston, which is 6-2-1 in its past nine.
The first meeting of the season between these bitter rivals had the Bell Centre at top volume to start, but the building got quiet when Boston defenceman Johnny Boychuk was wheeled off the ice on a stretcher 4:28 into the game.
Boychuk was injured on a hit by Pacioretty, who got 2 minutes for boarding. Boychuk was able to move all his limbs as he was taken to the hospital, the Bruins said. After the game, coach Claude Julien said Boychuk was released from the hospital and would return to Boston with the team.
Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 32 saves and was especially sharp in the final 20 minutes.
PENGUINS 5, SHARKS 1
PITTSBURGH (AP)—Chris Kunitz scored twice during a four-goal second period and Pittsburgh beat San Jose for its fifth straight victory.
Pascal Dupuis, Jayson Megna and Kris Letang also scored for the Penguins, who snapped San Jose’s six-game winning streak in a showdown between Stanley Cup contenders. Sidney Crosby added three assists in his 500th career game to push his point total to an NHL-leading 42.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 44 saves for the Penguins against the league’s highest-scoring team. Pittsburgh played without star Evgeni Malkin, scratched after sustaining a lower-body injury during the morning skate.
Tomas Hertl got his 14th goal for San Jose. Antti Niemi made 23 saves but was pulled after two periods, and the Sharks lost in regulation for only the fourth time this season.
RANGERS 3, SABRES 1
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)—Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to lead New York over Buffalo.
Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello scored for New York, which bounced back from a 5-2 loss to Winnipeg on Monday.
Tyler Ennis scored and Ryan Miller made 28 saves in a loss that drops the Sabres to 3-12-1 at the First Niagara Center.
Lundqvist, playing his first game since signing a seven-year, $59.5 million contract, was hardly troubled through 40 minutes, but was outstanding in the third period.
WILD 4, BLACKHAWKS 3
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)—Marco Scandella’s slap shot with 1:48 left, the defenceman’s first goal this season, lifted Minnesota over Chicago.
Jonas Brodin scored on a power play with 5:39 remaining to tie the game for the Wild, who raised their home record to 12-3-2 and handed the Blackhawks their first loss in their past seven road games.
With Charlie Coyle partially screening Corey Crawford at the edge of the crease, Brodin wound up and sent the puck ricocheting off Blackhawks defenceman Johnny Oduya and past the goalie’s outstretched glove.
Crawford made 19 saves.
HURRICANES 5, PREDATORS 2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Jeff Skinner had a hat trick to lead Carolina to a victory over Nashville.
Skinner has five goals in his past two games.
Justin Faulk and Riley Nash also scored for Carolina, winners of its past two.
Mike Fisher and Viktor Stalberg scored for Nashville, which completed a four-game homestand 0-3-1.
MAPLE LEAFS 3, STARS 2, OT
TORONTO (AP)—Trevor Smith scored at 4:18 of overtime to help Toronto end a five-game skid.
The Maple Leafs won for the first time since Nov. 23 despite being outshot for the 10th consecutive game, this time 50-24.
Nazem Kadri scored twice for the Leafs in his return from a one-game absence to attend his grandfather’s funeral. It looked as if his second goal would stand.
But Toronto’s best penalty-killer Jay McClement took a tripping penalty late in the third and Shawn Horcoff scored when he tipped Kevin Connauton’s shot past Jonathan Bernier at 17:14 to tie it a 2-2.
Bernier finished with 48 saves.
LIGHTNING 3, SENATORS 1
TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—Martin St. Louis scored two goals, Ben Bishop won his 15th game this season, and Tampa Bay beat Ottawa.
Valtteri Filppula also scored for the Lightning, who were coming off consecutive shutout losses to Columbus (1-0) and Pittsburgh (3-0). Ondrej Palat had two assists.
Ottawa got a goal from Patrick Wiercioch.
St. Louis beat goalie Robin Lehner from just outside the crease to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 advantage 13:19 into the second. The Lightning captain tied Jason Arnott for 91st place on the NHL points list with 938.
Filppula’s goal from the left circle made it 3-1 at 10:56 of the third.
BLUES 5, ISLANDERS 1
ST. LOUIS (AP)—Derek Roy and David Backes scored power-play goals 2:31 apart in the second period to lead St. Louis over struggling New York.
St. Louis won for the sixth time in eight games. The Islanders have lost eight straight overall (0-6-2) and eight in a row on the road.
Jay Bouwmeester, Magnus Paajarvi and Brenden Morrow also scored for the Blues, who improved to 12-1-2 at home and tied Boston (12-3-2) for the most home wins in the NHL. Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves and upped his record to 15-4-2.
Andrew MacDonald scored for the Islanders, who are 2-11-2 in their last 15 games.
St. Louis was 3 for 6 on the power play after managing one goal in its previous 10 chances.
PANTHERS 5, JETS 2
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)—Dylan Olsen scored his first NHL goal to help Florida beat Winnipeg.
Jimmy Hayes, Nick Bjugstad, Tomas Fleischmann and Erik Gudbranson also scored for the Panthers. Tim Thomas stopped 29 shots and Scottie Upshall had two assists. Olsen also added an assist.
Olli Jokinen and Andrew Ladd scored for the Jets. Ondrej Pavelec made 21 saves.
The Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak and earned their first points during that span.
OILERS 8, AVALANCHE 2
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)—Taylor Hall had a hat trick and an assist to help Edmonton rebound from a lopsided defeat with a surprising rout of Colorado.
Ales Hemsky, David Perron, Mark Arcobello, Jordan Eberle and Sam Gagner also scored for the Oilers, who replaced a quarter of their lineup after a 6-2 loss to Phoenix on Tuesday.
The Oilers improved to 4-9-0 at home, and they’ve won six of nine overall. Ryan Smyth had three assists.
Nick Holden and P.A. Parenteau scored for the Avalanche, who had won two in a row and five of six.