BOSTON – Montreal defenceman P.K. Subban stepped into one of the NHL’s fiercest rivalries and helped the Canadiens maintain their domination of the Bruins.
The 21-year-old rookie scored his first regular-season goal Thursday night, and Carey Price stopped 34 shots to lead Montreal to a 3-1 victory over Boston. It’s the Canadiens’ fourth straight victory in Boston, and their sixth win in seven tries against their longtime nemesis.
“It was great to get it against an Original Six team and a rival,” said Subban, who also had a goal in the playoffs last season.
A day after scoring five third-period goals to beat Pittsburgh, Boston fell apart in the third and saw its top-ranked penalty-killing unit fail twice—the first time this season the Bruins have allowed multiple power-play goals. Boston had allowed just two goals in its previous 30 power plays allowed.
“We ran out of legs, and progressively our game got worse and made every part of our game look bad,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “When you have a fresh team waiting for you at home, and a divisional game, it’s tough.”
Former Boston College star Brian Gionta scored a tiebreaking, power-play goal 29 seconds into the third, and Scott Gomez made it 3-1 10 minutes later. Price, who shut out Vancouver on Tuesday night, has allowed six goals in the last four games.
“Beating two top teams like Vancouver and Boston—especially Boston—is great,” said Price, who confessed to looking at the standings even though it’s less than one-fifth of the way through the season. “They were only two (points) behind us in the standings and had some games in hand, and we didn’t want to be tied with them.”
After opening the season by winning seven of their first nine games, the Bruins have lost three of their last four—the only win a 7-4 victory in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. Tuukka Rask continued his hard-luck season, losing for the fifth time in five appearances despite making 38 saves.
“I don’t know if I’ve got to change something, or it’s just bad luck,” he said. “But definitely the bounces are not going my way.”
Subban scored 5:19 minutes into the first period. Zdeno Chara tied it for Boston with 4:11 left in the period on a powerful wrist shot after Patrice Bergeron made a nice play to keep the puck in the zone on the side boards.
Montreal appeared to go ahead late in the second, but replay showed Jeff Halpern redirected the puck into the net with his skate.
In the third, Gionta put took a crossing pass from Mike Cammalleri and, from his knees, swept it past Rask to make it 2-1.
Gomez, who was playing in his 800th NHL game, made it 3-1 on a power play midway through the third when he put a rebound of Andrei Kostitsyn’s shot off the crossbar and off Rask’s back before it trickled into the net.
NOTES: The Bruins assigned F Jamie Arniel to Providence of the AHL. … Montreal traded D Ryan O’Byrne to the Colorado Avalanche for F Michael Bournival. … Milan Lucic had an assist, giving him six points in seven games. … Subban has six assists on the season. He also had six assists in the playoffs last season. … Montreal is 8-0-1 when scoring the first goal.