December 6, 2013

NHL: Canadiens topple Bruins

 MONTREAL (AP) — Max Pacioretty scored his ninth goal in the last nine games and the surging Montreal Canadiens stretched their unbeaten run to nine with a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.

Tomas Plekanec also scored for Montreal (18-9-3), which jumped a point ahead of Boston (18-8-2) into first place in the Atlantic Division — although the Bruins have two games in hand. The Canadiens are 8-0-1 in their last nine.

Gregory Campbell scored for Boston, which is 6-2-1 in its past nine.

The first meeting of the season between these bitter rivals had the Bell Centre at top volume to start, but the building got quiet when Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk was wheeled off the ice on a stretcher 4:28 into the game.

Boychuk was injured on a hit by Pacioretty, who got 2 minutes for boarding. Boychuk was able to move all his limbs as he was taken to the hospital, the Bruins said, but there was no further word on his condition.

The Bruins controlled the first and third periods and outshot Montreal 33-27. Canadiens goalie Carey Price was especially sharp in the final 20 minutes.

Boston had a 10-3 first-period shot advantage and got the first goal at 17:35. Andrei Markov cleared the puck to the Boston blue line, where Dennis Seidenberg kicked it forward, sending Milan Lucic in on a 2-on-1 break. The big winger slipped a pass to Campbell for a shot into an open side.

Plekanec tied it 9:16 into the second when he beat Tuukka Rask from a tight angle with a medium-speed wrist shot.

A burst of speed from Brendan Gallagher caused confusion in the Boston defense and Pacioretty backhanded Raphael Diaz's rebound in from the slot at 17:42. Pacioretty's last nine goals have all come on home ice.

The Canadiens, coming off a 4-3 shootout win in New Jersey on Wednesday, were playing their third game in four nights, while the Bruins had been off since Saturday.

The teams meet again Jan. 30 in Boston.

NOTES: Montreal dressed Douglas Murray and George Parros and sat Francis Bouillon and Ryan White, who both played Wednesday in New Jersey. Rene Bourque remains sidelined with an upper-body injury. ... Parros got his first shot on goal in seven games with the Canadiens. ... Adam McQuaid (lower body) was out for Boston, while Jordan Caron and Kevan Miller were healthy scratches. ... As in other NHL rinks, a moment of silence was held for Nelson Mandela.

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