BOSTON – The Montreal Canadiens have figured out how to win on the road.
Rookie Carey Price made 28 saves to lead the Canadiens to a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, helping Montreal improve to 5-1-1 on the road. “That was pretty close to a perfect game,” Price said. “We slowed the game down and limited their chances.” Bruins fans were left with an eerie flashback of Patrice Bergeron’s injury when defenceman Aaron Ward lay motionless on the ice late in the third period.
Five seconds after the Canadiens killed a two-man advantage late in the third period, Ward was hit with an elbow by Canadiens defenceman Francis Bouillon and was face down for about one minute before starting to move his feet while a stretcher was brought onto the ice. A groggy Ward slowly sat up and was helped off the ice by a pair of teammates. Ward was still being treated after the game but was not taken to a hospital.
When asked about Bouillon’s intent, Bruins coach Claude Julien said: “I can’t judge that and whatever we say doesn’t matter anyway. We will let the people make that decision.”
This came five games after Bergeron was knocked unconscious. He broke his nose and suffered a grade three concussion after a hit from behind by Flyers forward Randy Jones.
Montreal’s line of Alex Kovalev, Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn combined for six points, and the Canadiens beat Boston for the fifth straight time.
“These kinds of games put you to sleep,” Kovalev said. “It’s definitely not fun to play, but they like to trap you and force you into mistakes.”
Boston had its best opportunity of the game with 6:48 remaining, when Mike Komisarek went off for tripping and two seconds later Bouillon went off for delay of game. The Bruins failed to mount any good scoring opportunities on the power play and actually gave up a 2-on-1 situation to Montreal.
“It’s a really good feeling when those penalties happen and you see the entire bench get up and want to kill them,” Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said.
Kovalev put the Canadiens ahead 1-0 when he tipped the puck over the goal line after a Plekanec shot beating Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas with 2:55 remaining in the first period.
Plekanec increased Montreal’s lead to 2-0 when he slid the puck past Thomas at the 8:47 mark of the second period.
Marco Sturm cut Montreal’s lead in half with 5:48 left in the second when he backhanded a shot past Price.
Boston has dropped four straight and has scored only four goals in the last four games.
“Coach is trying to go with guys that are hot and he is searching for answers,” Bruins forward Marc Savard said.
Tim Thomas made 30 saves for Boston, who has scored two goals or less in 10 of 15 games this season.
Notes: Andrew Ference missed his third straight game because of an upper body injury. … Glen Murray has one goal in 15 games for Boston. … Price made his third start in the last six games despite Cristobal Huet’s 6-2-2 record and 2.08 GAA. … Kovalev assisted on Plekanec’s goal and has five points in the last five games.