NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Boston
(Thursday, March 24th)
Final Score: Boston 7, Montreal 0
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Gregory Campbell and Nathan Horton each scored twice and Tim Thomas made 24 saves, as the Boston Bruins destroyed the Montreal Canadiens, 7-0, in a critical Northeast Division battle at TD Garden.
Johnny Boychuk had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who are now five points ahead of the Habs in the division standings. Adam McQuaid and Tomas Kaberle also lit the lamp for the victors.
Thomas recorded his eighth shutout of the year and 25th of his career.
"It's the 25th [shutout] of my career, and it's a memorable one...against Montreal. It's a nice victory I'll remember forever," Thomas said.
Carey Price turned aside 28-of-33 shots before being pulled for Alex Auld, who gave up Boston's final two scores of the contest.
Montreal, which sits sixth in the Eastern Conference with 87 points, still took four of six from Boston this season.
There was a lot of hype coming into the game because of what happened the last time these two rivals met on March 8. Montreal's 4-1 victory was overshadowed by Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara's controversial hit on Habs forward Max Pacioretty. Chara hit Pacioretty near the boards and forced him into a dangerous spot where a pane of glass separates the benches.
Chara was handed a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct on the play, but the NHL did not fine or any suspend the big defenseman for his role in the collision. Meanwhile, Pacioretty suffered a severe concussion, as well as a fracture of the fourth cervical vertebra and has not played since.
In the meeting before that, on February 9 at TD Garden, Boston and Montreal combined for 14 goals and 187 penalty minutes. The Bruins won that game by an 8-6 margin.
Thursday's game was the first time Boston beat Montreal by seven since a 9-2 decision on October 28, 1998 in Montreal.
"The response is you want to win the hockey game and battle with the Bruins when you are trailing them by three points," Montreal head coach Jacques Martin said. "I wouldn't say (it was) a lack of emotion - more a lack of execution."
After all the hype leading up to the game, Boston came out and dominated the first period.
Boychuk brought the crowd to its feet just 61 seconds into the contest. He gathered a rebound along the right boards near the top of the circle and fired a slap shot on net. The puck sailed past Price as Milan Lucic blocked the view of the Montreal goaltender.
The Bruins lit the lamp again at the 13:43 mark, when Campbell's tip-in off Chara's shot from the point made it a 2-0 game.
Horton capped a three-goal first stanza with a power-play goal. Lucic slid a pass across the crease for Horton, whose wrister beat Price with 2:32 remaining, and "Carey, Carey" chants rained down from the crowd.
Boston took 18 shots over the first 20 minutes, compared to nine for the Canadiens.
There was no scoring in the middle stanza, but it was filled with seven penalties -- five of which were incurred by Montreal.
Canadiens defenseman Paul Mara earned two roughing minors before being involved in the first fight of the game. With time winding down in the frame, he and Campbell exchanged punches.
The Bruins turned the contest into a rout in the third period. David Krejci led a 2-on-1 rush down the left side of the ice and made a cross-ice pass to Horton, who chipped the puck into the net at the 4:03 mark.
McQuaid lit the lamp just 26 seconds later to make it a 5-0 game. McQuaid's shot from the right point deflected off the stick of Montreal's Lars Eller and snuck through Price's pads.
The crowd cheered as Auld took over for Price.
Kaberle's first goal in a Boston uniform, at the 11:27 mark, gave the Bruins a six-goal cushion.
Campbell capped the scoring with a short-handed goal.
Canadiens forward Mathieu Darche returned to the lineup after missing the last 15 games with a groin injury. Montreal defenseman Brent Sopel made his return to the ice after missing the last seven games with a hand issue...Chara, Lucic and Krejci each had three assists...Boston went 1-for-6 on the power play, while Montreal went 0-for-5.
03/24 23:41:27 ET