Andrei Markov scored the tiebreaking goal with 1.2 seconds left Thursday night, giving Montreal a 3-2 victory over Boston and prompting a shower of garbage from the Bruins fans that convinced the officials to call the game with two ticks left.
"When you see the bottles with liquid being thrown from 20 rows up, you worry about your head or face being hurt. The referees did the right thing to end the game," Montreal captain Saku Koivu said. "It was a huge win. It feels a lot bigger when you steal it in the last few seconds."
Markov took advantage of a power play that came when Matt Lashoff, who was making his NHL debut, was called for holding with 45 seconds left. The Montreal defenceman got the puck to the left of Tim Thomas and put it between his legs for the winner.
While Montreal players - and some of their vocal fans in the Boston crowd - celebrated, others in the stands began throwing cups and other trash onto the ice. After about a minute, and a futile announcement from the public address announcer, the clock started and the buzzer blew while both teams were still at their benches and the ice crew was cleaning up.
"There's no fun way to lose," Bruins coach Dave Lewis said, complimenting Lashoff on his overall game in spite of the costly penalty.
"He moved the puck, has good vision. He thinks the game. Everybody will take penalties; he reacted," Lewis said. "We've got to kill that penalty. That's what penalty-killers do. You bail out your teammate."
Cristobal Huet stopped 34 shots for Montreal, which has won eight of nine against its longtime rival, including the last six in a row. Michael Ryder and Chris Higgins also scored for the Canadiens.
Thomas made 26 saves for Boston, making a sprawling save on Mike Johnson with 3:25 left to temporarily preserve the tie. He fell to 1-6 against Montreal in his career.
Zdeno Chara scored his first goal since joining the Bruins in the off-season as one of the top prizes on the free agent market. Phil Kessel scored and Glen Murray and Patrice Bergeron had two assists apiece for Boston.
The Canadiens lost forward Alex Kovalev in the second period when he whacked his stick across the glass after drawing a penalty for jostling with Boston defenceman Milan Jurcina. Kovalev was given two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and a game misconduct.
"As you saw, the refs screwed up the whole game, and then they tried to fix it at the end. I wish, if they were going to decide to have a bad game, they would be bad for both teams," said Kovalev, who complained that opponents have tried to take out his knees in three straight games. "I have to ... protect myself."
While he was out, Craig Rivet picked up a double minor for hooking and slamming his stick. The Bruins used the two-man advantage to tie it up on Chara's slap shot with 91 seconds left in the second.
Notes: Bruins forward Marco Sturm missed his third consecutive game with a leg injury. ... P.J. Axelsson left the ice in pain after getting slashed on the left hand with 6 minutes left in the game. ... The Canadiens wore white sweaters with a blue stripe. ... Former Bruins first-round draft choice Sergei Samsonov returned to Boston for the first time since he was traded to Edmonton in March.