Halak gets third shutout, Bruins beat Canadiens 4-0
Halak stopped 22 shots for his third shutout of the season as the Bruins beat the Canadiens 4-0 on Monday night.
Halak got his 45th career shutout and improved to 5-0-0 when facing Price.
“It’s always nice to get a shutout,” Halak said. “From the drop of the puck, we played pretty good. For 60 minutes, we didn’t give them much. Our (penalty kill) did an outstanding job not to give them anything. … It was a team effort from top to bottom.”
Joakim Nordstrom, Colby Cave, David Krejci and Brad Marchand scored for the Bruins, who snapped a two-game skid and leapfrogged the Canadiens for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Boston was on the second game of a back-to-back after losing 4-2 in Buffalo on Sunday.
Price, vying for his 300th career victory, finished with 31 saves as the Canadiens lost for just the second time in seven games. Montreal was shut out for just the second time this season, and first time since Oct. 11 against Los Angeles.
“I don’t think there’s a whole lot that needs to be said,” Price said. “There’s no excuse for that. It was a perfect opportunity to get a big win for our team but we’re going to have to park that one real quick.”
The Canadiens failed to capitalize on three power plays, extending their slump to 0 for 25 over nine games dating back to Dec. 1. Montreal turned the puck over 24 times and their 22 shots on goal were a season low.
“I don’t think we were good anywhere on the ice tonight,” Canadiens captain Shea Weber said. “There’s no excuse for that. We’re letting each other down. Guys have to look at each other in here and know that we all have to be better for each other.”
The Canadiens looked sloppy in the first period, turning the puck over 11 times over the first seven minutes.
The Bruins responded with their first goal at 2:21 after Michael Chaput’s turnover in his own zone. What followed was a give-and-go between Cave, David Backes and Nordstrom, who beat Price from the slot for his fifth.
Boston made it 2-0 late in the second period when Cave scored his first NHL goal with 26 seconds left. The 23-year-old, playing his 16th career game, was left alone in the slot with the teams playing 4-on-4.
The Bruins’ David Pastrnak scooped up the puck after the goal and brought it to the bench.
“It feels really good, especially in a winning effort,” Cave said. “We played an unreal game as a team tonight. We rolled four lines, all three defensive pairings played good and Jaro was a brick wall back there. A recipe for success.”
The Bruins picked up right where they left off in the third, scoring 46 seconds in. A defensive collapse by the Canadiens gave Krejci time and space at the side of the net for his sixth.
The Bruins added to their lead when Marchand scored Boston’s fourth, on the power play, at 5:06. David Pastrnak made a clever pass on the goal, his second assist of the game
NOTES: The Canadiens recalled D Victor Mete after the game and assigned Noah Juulsen to the Laval Rocket. … Montreal D Jordie Benn was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. … It was the third of four meetings between the Canadiens and Bruins this season, with the road team winning each time. The final matchup of the season is Jan. 14 at Boston. … Krejci extended his point streak to seven games.
Bruins: Host Anaheim on Thursday night to open a two-game homestand.
Canadiens: At Colorado on Wednesday night to open a stretch of six straight road games to close the month.