A dangerous hit and a scary injury to one of their teammates had the Montreal Canadiens more concerned than excited after their latest victory.
Max Pacioretty was sent to hospital after being checked into the glass head first by Boston’s Zdeno Chara late in the second period of Montreal’s 4-1 victory against the Bruins on Tuesday night.
Lars Eller scored twice in the first for the Canadiens and Carey Price made 30 saves as Montreal extended its winning streak to a season-high five games.
Pacioretty lay on the ice and remained motionless when he was taken off on a stretcher after the hit by Chara, which sent him flying into the glass partition at the end of the Bruins’ bench.
“I knew we were somewhere close to our bench but obviously that wasn’t my intention to push him into the post,” said Chara, who was given an interference major and a game misconduct with 15.8 seconds left in the period. “It’s very unfortunate. In that situation everything’s happening fast and even planning to do that, that’s not my style to hurt somebody. I always play hard. I play physical but I never try to hurt anybody so I’m hoping he’s O.K.”
A Canadiens spokesman said Pacioretty was conscious and moving his extremities when he was taken to hospital for precautions.
“Things happen quickly,” Eller said. “You make decisions out there. Unfortunately, Chara made a bad one. I think he knew the glass was starting there. Hopefully he won’t do that again. We just hope Max will be all right.”
Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said Pacioretty would remain in hospital overnight. Martin believed the penalties called against Chara were “adjusted when they saw how serious the injury is.”
“The league has to deal with these issues,” Martin said. “It’s not the first time. It seems to be getting worse and worse. It was a dangerous hit.”
Elsewhere in the NHL it was: Ottawa 2 New Jersey 1; New York Islanders 4 Toronto 3 (OT); Philadelphia 4 Edmonton 1; Vancouver 4 Phoenix 3 (OT); Florida 3 Chicago 2; Pittsburgh 3 Buffalo 1; Minnesota 5 Colorado 2; and San Jose 3 Nashville 2 (OT).
At Montreal. Bruins coach Claude Julien said he had sought out information on Pacioretty’s condition from Dr. David Mulder, the Canadiens’ team doctor who attended to the Montreal forward on the ice immediately after the hit.
“I’ve seen those kind of things before as far as hitting partitions and I even played with a teammate that had a severe injury because of the same thing,” said Julien, who got his NHL coaching debut with the Canadiens. “Sometimes it’s riding your check and that part of the ice is so dangerous between the two benches because they’ve got those little partitions. It’s not Zdeno’s shoulder, elbow, or anything that hit him in the head, it’s the partition.
“When you see those kind of things it’s very unfortunate and you hope that the player gets better quickly. I know that it’s a pretty serious injury and we’re going to keep our fingers crossed that he gets better.”
Brian Gionta scored his 24th goal in the second and James Wisniewski added a power-play goal for Montreal, playing its first game after a 3-0 road trip.
“We played a good team game,” Eller said. “We’re happy about that.”
Milan Lucic scored his 29th goal 13:21 into the third to spoil Price’s bid for a second shutout in three games.
Tuukka Rask stopped 22 shots for Boston, which had claimed 15 of 16 points in its previous eight games, a run that began with a 6-0 road trip.
Eller gave Montreal a 1-0 lead 8:21 in with his sixth of the season. Travis Moen got his second straight assist when Eller beat Rask for his seventh of the season at 17:37.
Gionta made it a 3-0. The Montreal captain drove the net and got off a shot that trickled through Rask. The Boston goalie knocked the puck back toward the goal line twice while Chara tried to keep it out and referee Eric Furlatt pointed to the net to signal the goal.
Wisniewski drove a slap shot past Rask for a power-play goal at 15:09.
Price stopped Brad Marchand on a penalty shot 4:08 into the third.
Pacioretty was given a lengthy standing ovation when he was named the game’s third star in voting conducted by the team’s fans.
Canadiens right wing Ryan White got 17 minutes in penalties 3:11 for instigating a fight with Johnny Boychuk after the Bruins’ defenceman attempted to knocked down Montreal’s P.K. Subban with an open-ice hit.
At Newark, N.J., Erik Condra scored his second goal of the game with 2:13 to play and Senators stunned the red-hot Devils.
At Uniondale, N.Y., Blake Comeau’s tip-in with 57.3 seconds left in overtime led the New York Islanders to a victory over Toronto.
At Philadelphia, Jeff Carter scored two goals and the Flyers beat Edmonton to snap a season-high four-game losing streak.
At Glendale, Ariz., Dan Hamhuis scored twice, including the winner with 2:47 left in overtime, and Vancouver beat Phoenix.
At Sunrise, Fla., David Booth had a goal and an assist and Florida held on to beat Chicago and end the Blackhawks’ eight-game winning streak.
At Pittsburgh, James Neal and Zbynek Michalek each scored for the first time as members of the Penguins with goals 3:17 apart early in the second period in a win over Buffalo.
At St. Paul, Minn., John Madden scored with 9:05 left to break a tie and lift the Minnesota Wild to a must-have victory over the Colorado Avalanche.
At San Jose, Calif., Patrick Marleau scored on a breakaway goal in overtime, lifting the Sharks past struggling Nashville.