Canadiens 3, Bruins 2
Tuukka Rask took the blame for a tough loss after Sergei
Kostitsyn and the Montreal Canadiens took advantage of Bell
Centre’s lively boards to victimize the Boston goalie on a
seemingly harmless dump-in.
Rask misplayed the puck behind his own net on a play that led
directly to Kostitsyn’s second goal of the game and Montreal went
on to its season-high fifth straight win, 3-2 over the Bruins on
Kostitsyn, who has three goals in two games, put Montreal up 3-1
early in the third when jumped on an opportunity after Rask was
unable to handle Hal Gill’s dump-in off the end boards.
The puck slid under Rask’s stick and Kostitsyn – who gave the
Canadiens a 2-0 lead when he scored late in the first – fired the
loose puck into the wide open net for his fifth of the season 1:41
into the third before the Finnish goalie could stop it with a
desperate stick lunge.
“I think I misread it,” Rask said. “I went to play it on my
forehand. To me, it seems like it came out of the boards faster
than before it hit the boards. It’s tough when your goalie makes a
mistake like that. It shows on the scoreboard and tonight it cost
us the game.”
The loss was a missed opportunity for the Bruins to gain some
breathing space in their drive for a playoff spot. Boston, which
finished first overall in the Eastern Conference last season, is
eighth in the East with 72 points, three ahead of the New York
Rangers and four up on Tampa Bay.
“All in all, the way Montreal’s been playing thus far, we
didn’t put a full 60-minute effort in and I think that’s what hurt
us today,” said Milan Lucic, who scored 11:46 into the third to
draw Boston within one.
Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves, and Andrei Markov had a goal and
an assist for Montreal, which has won six of seven since the
Halak stopped Marco Sturm with less than 5 minutes remaining in
the third to help send the Canadiens’ on to their longest winning
streak since a five-game run from Oct. 11-20, 2008.
“It’s a team game,” said Halak, who has won all five games
during the streak. “The guys were there for me most of the game –
when I needed to be there, I made a stop.”
Montreal remained tied for sixth place in the Eastern Conference
with Philadelphia. Both teams have 76 points, though the Canadiens
have played three more games.
“Every morning we see the board and it’s always nice to look at
it after we win,” Markov said.
Rask stopped 24 shots, and Blake Wheeler also scored for Boston,
which fell to 1-2-1 in its last four games, a skid that began with
a 2-1 loss in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Bruins center Marc Savard was lost to injury indefinitely as the
result of a controversial hit to the head by Penguins forward Matt
Cooke during that game. Prior to that, Boston had lost once in
regulation in its previous nine games (6-1-2).
Lucic drew the Bruins within one when he circled back along the
right side in the Canadiens zone to the top of the slot, where he
fired a wrist shot through traffic past Halak for his seventh
Maxim Lapierre returned to Montreal’s lineup after serving a
four-game suspension for his hit from behind on San Jose’s Scott
Markov extended his points streak to six games when he opened
the scoring with a power-play goal 6:02 in. The Russian defenseman
was credited with his fifth goal when his slap shot from the point
was redirected past Rask off Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg’s
Markov got his second point of the opening period with an assist
on Kostitsyn’s goal at 19:20. Kostitsyn scored for the second
straight game with 39.5 seconds left when he swiped the puck inside
the left post with a backhand from the edge of the crease after
Markov made a return pass from behind the goal line.
“I hope my best games are in the future,” said Markov, who has
27 points while being limited to 33 games because of injuries this
season. “Right now, I’m having fun.”
Wheeler drew the Bruins to 2-1 with his 16th goal 1:12 into the
NOTES: Bruins C Patrice Bergeron was one of six Canadian Olympic
medalists honored prior to the game. Bergeron drew cheers as he
skated to center ice and donned a red Canada ballcap. He was joined
by Kim St. Pierre, Charline Labonte, Catherine Ward and Caroline
Ouellette – all members of Canada’s gold medal-winning women’s
hockey team – and speed skater Clara Hughes, who won bronze in the
women’s 5000 meters. “It was nice to get that ovation and it was
nice from the Canadiens’ standpoint to honor the Olympics,”