MONTREAL (NHL.com) - The hex is over. The Boston Bruins snapped a five-game losing streak against their arch rivals Wednesday with a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens.
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 35 saves for his third win in 15 career starts against the Canadiens.
Boston (43-17-5) got a goal each from Carl Soderberg, Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara, giving the Bruins 26 goals with 10 against over the course of their season-high six-game winning streak.
It pulled them within a point of the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins, with each team having 17 games remaining on the schedule, none against each other.
David Desharnais scored on Montreal's 30th shot of the game with the score 4-0 to break Rask's shutout at 2:46 of the third period. NHL Trade Deadline acquisition Thomas Vanek had an assist, his first point in his third game with the Canadiens.
Montreal (35-25-7) lost its third in a row and fourth in five games, squandering a game in hand on the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are one point ahead in second place in the Atlantic Division standings.
Goalie Peter Budaj got the start for the Canadiens largely based on his 4-1-0 record against the Bruins, but he continued to struggle in the starting role with Carey Price missing his eighth straight game with a lower-body injury he aggravated playing for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Budaj's record since the return from the Olympic break is 2-4-1 with a save percentage of .869 in seven starts.
The win was the Bruins' first against the Canadiens since a 2-1 victory here on Feb. 6, 2013, which was Boston's fifth in a row against Montreal. Now it's the Bruins who snapped the Canadiens' five-game winning streak against them.
Early on it looked as though that streak may continue. The Canadiens controlled the play in the first period but were unable to beat Rask. Montreal outshot Boston 14-6, with three of those Bruins shots coming on one power play and the other three at even strength.
Rask was particularly good stopping Max Pacioretty on a clean breakaway at 8:35 with a quick pad save on a snap shot from the slot, and the goalie stopped an Alex Galchenyuk breakaway about eight minutes later.
It was a different story in the second period, when Boston came out with a clear purpose and took the game to Montreal.
It paid off at 1:33 when Soderberg took advantage of a Jarred Tinordi miscue to get the puck all alone in front of Budaj, scoring his 12th goal of the season. Soderberg, Boston's third-line center, has four goals and five assists in his past nine games.
The Canadiens got behind the Bruins a third time just before the midway point of the second period, but Tomas Plekanec's shot went well wide.
Moments later, Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov fell at the Boston blue line to create a Bruins 3-on-1, one Bergeron finished off a feed from Brad Marchand at 9:25 to make it 2-0.
Lucic made it 3-0 at 18:32 of the second, hitting Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin in the Boston end to create a turnover, then hustling up the ice to take a Jarome Iginla pass and one-time a shot past Budaj for his 20th goal of the season.
Lucic has scored at least 20 goals in each of his past three complete seasons.
Chara made it 4-0 on the first shift of the third period, collecting a rebound of his shot to beat Budaj at 0:23.