Canadiens edged by Bruins in wild affair
Linemates Guillaume Latendresse and Michael Ryder scored their respective fifth and seventh goals of the season.
MONTREAL (CP) - Brad Stuart's third-period heroics provided further proof the Boston Bruins are turning their season around after a tough start.
Stuart scored two third-period goals, including the winner with less than two minutes to play, as the Boston Bruins squandered a three-goal lead but still recovered to down the Montreal Canadiens 6-5 on Monday.
"The first couple of weeks of the season that game might have got away from us, we might have given up a lead and just fallen apart," Stuart said. "We gave up the lead, but we didn't let that happen. It's a sign of the team gelling together."
Glen Murray, Marco Sturm, Shean Donovan and Wayne Primeau also scored for the Bruins (13-10-3), who have won four of their last five games and snapped a six-game losing streak against Montreal dating back to Feb. 2.
Boston is 9-3 since starting the year with four wins in its first 13 games.
"I don't know if we deserved the win, but we won," said Bruins head coach Dave Lewis. "Right now that's what we need, we need points, and it was against a top opponent in their building. That was important for us."
Guillaume Latendresse, Michael Ryder, Mike Johnson, Alexander Perezhogin and Sheldon Souray scored for the Canadiens (15-8-3) in front of a 73rd straight sellout crowd of 21,273 fans at the Bell Centre.
After erasing a 3-1 deficit to beat Toronto in a shootout at home on Saturday, the Canadiens couldn't pull off a comeback two games in a row.
"We were lucky to beat Toronto," Habs coach Guy Carbonneau said, "but tonight we would have deserved to win."
Canadiens goalie Cristobal Huet was pulled for the first time this season early in the second period, allowing four goals on 16 shots. After allowing only eight goals over a six-start winning streak from Nov. 13-28, Huet has allowed 11 goals on 103 shots in his last three games.
"The guy's been awesome for us," Souray said. "We still have all the confidence in the world in him."
Huet's replacement David Aebischer stopped 12 of 14 shots and took the loss after allowing both of Stuart's goals on long point shots in the third.
Neither goaltender faced reporters after the game, a rarity in the Canadiens dressing room.
Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, starting for the 13th time in 14 games, made 34 saves. It was the second straight game Thomas allowed a lead to slip away after Carolina turned Boston's 2-1 second period lead Saturday night into a 5-2 Hurricanes win, but this time the Bruins were victorious.
"He was the reason we were in the game," Lewis said. "It's funny to say that when you give up five goals, but they came at us wave after wave."
With the game tied 4-4 at the start of the third period, the Bruins took the lead at 10:35 when Stuart's shot from the point went off Souray's right skate and past Aebischer, but Souray atoned almost immediately by scoring his 10th of the season on the power play at 12:47 of the third.
With only 1:48 left in regulation, another long point shot by Stuart found its way through a crowd and beat Aebischer for his fourth goal of the season, giving Boston the 6-5 win.
"I can't really take credit for it, I figure it went off a few guys," Stuart said. "When you shoot the puck, good things happen."
Starting the second with a 2-1 lead, the Bruins pounced with two quick goals to chase Huet. Marc Savard, who had three assists on the night, picked off an errant clearing pass by Francis Bouillon to set up Donovan for his third of the year at 1:48 of the second period. With the Bruins short-handed, Primeau picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and beat Huet with a long wrister at 3:12, ending the Canadiens netminder's evening.
The goaltending change appeared to spark the Canadiens and they came back with three goals to tie it 4-4 before the end of the period. Ryder scored a power play goal at 4:37 when he came out of the corner and surprised Thomas with a quick wrist shot for his seventh of the season. Johnson scored his fifth at 15:54 when he converted a rebound of a Craig Rivet point shot, and Perezhogin tied it at 19:21 when his long wrist shot beat a screened Thomas for his fourth of the season.
"Coming in after the second we were pretty upset at ourselves," Stuart said. "We talked about things we stopped doing that allowed them to come back and we tried to get back to doing those things."
Montreal went ahead 1-0 on Latendresse's fifth of the season at 9:27 of the first. Boston tied it at 16:38 when Murray banked one in off Huet from behind the net for his 14th of the season, and went ahead at 18:15 when Sturm scored his fifth on a breakaway.
Notes: The clock on the Bell Centre scoreboard stopped working after Souray scored in the third period, and the final 6:18 of regulation were played using a clock on the advertising panels...Canadiens D Craig Rivet, who left Montreal's 4-3 shootout win Saturday over the Leafs in the second period after being struck in the arm by a Mats Sundin slapshot, was back in the lineup...Canadiens D Mark Streit was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch Saturday as head coach Guy Carbonneau once again dressed seven defensemen. Winger Aaron Downey and D Janne Niinimaa were healthy scratches. Bruins winger P.J. Axelsson missed his second game with a foot injury, while D Paul Mara missed his third game with a thigh contusion.