By John Kreiser | NHL.com Columnist
Patrick Roy came home Saturday night to be honored by the city for which he won two Stanley Cups. Unfortunately for the sellout crowd at the Bell Centre, the Boston Bruins were also on the guest list.
After a ceremony in which Roy heard the cheers of the Montreal faithful — more than a decade after a bitter divorce from the Canadiens — the Bruins spoiled the night with a 3-2 shootout victory. Blake Wheeler scored the only goal in the breakaway competition and Tim Thomas stopped all three Montreal shooters as the Bruins earned their 100th regular-season victory in Montreal.
The winning goal came by accident. Wheeler came in on the first attempt of the shootout and lost the puck while making a deke, only to see it slide past Carey Price and into the net.
"I might have to practice that now and see if it's a good thing to do, but I'll try to stick with what's worked in the past," Wheeler said after the Bruins' first win at Montreal since Dec. 4, 2006.
Boston improved to 9-0-1 in its last 10 games and moved past the New York Rangers into first place in the Eastern Conference.
"To come in here and come out with a win is really good, especially in a shootout," said Thomas, who didn't see any of Roy's pregame ceremony. "I've seen Saku (Koivu, the last Montreal shooter) score on that last shot and him the one walking off the ice with his arms raised and all happy, and I was happy to be the one with my arms raised and happy today."
On a night when one of the NHL's all-time goaltending greats was honored, both goaltenders were superb. Thomas made 17 saves in the third period and 33 in 65 minutes before making his three shootout saves. Price wasn't as busy but looked sharp in stopping 25 shots.
"He was excellent again tonight," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said of his second-year goaltender. "It's too bad he loses in a shootout when a guy loses the puck. I asked our goalies to give us a chance to win, and both of them have been doing that the last little while."
After a scoreless first period, the Canadiens opened the scoring 91 seconds into the second when Andrei Kostitsyn picked up a blocked shot and whipped the puck past Thomas. Boston tied it at 11:11 when Milan Lucic buried Phil Kessel's feed. Lucic spent much of the night as the target of the Bell Centre crowd — and Montreal enforcer Georges Laraque — following a Nov. 13 fight that left Mike Komisarek with an upper body injury that will sideline him for a month.
"I bet you Milan never thought he was that good that he'd have a shadow on him," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I don't know if it's ever happened in his career but it's pretty simple, we've got a good hockey player, he's 20 years old, a first-line player, it's as simple as that."
Said Carbonneau: "There's more games to come, we'll see how (Lucic) keeps playing. But he was a lot quieter tonight than he was in Boston."
Boston took its first lead at 9:41 of the third period when David Krejci found Matt Hunwick for a quick shot past Price. But Montreal tied the game with 3:05 left in regulation when Tom Kostopoulos got a piece of Patrice Brisebois' slap pass and tipped it just under the crossbar.
All that meant was one point instead of none for the Canadiens, who lost for the fourth time in six games. Montreal is 3-4-2 since getting off to an 8-1-1 start and has scored just 19 goals in that span — partly due to a power play that's in a 2-for-31 slump.
Carbonneau feels his team is going to break out soon.
"It's just a matter of time," he said. "We have too much talent to just keep scoring one goal or two goals a game."
|Andrei Kostitsyn (3) ASST: Josh Gorges (4), Tom Kostopoulos (2)|
1 - 0 MTL
|Milan Lucic (6) ASST: Phil Kessel (6), Stephane Yelle (5)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Matt Hunwick (2) ASST: David Krejci (9), Chuck Kobasew (7)|
2 - 1 BOS
|Tom Kostopoulos (2) ASST: Robert Lang (7), Patrice Brisebois (2)|
2 - 2 Tie
|1||B. Wheeler||A. Kovalev|
|2||P. Kessel||A. Markov|
|3||P. Bergeron||S. Koivu|
|Power Play %||30.8%||24.4%|
|% on Road||27.3%||22.9%|
|% at Home||34.4%||25.5%|
|Chuck Kobasew Hi-sticking against Josh Gorges|
|David Krejci Interference against Tomas Plekanec|
|Robert Lang Slashing against Phil Kessel|
|Saku Koivu Roughing against Phil Kessel|
|Phil Kessel Roughing against Saku Koivu|
|Mark Stuart Interference against Georges Laraque|
|Marc Savard Hooking against Andrei Kostitsyn|
|Robert Lang Slashing against Stephane Yelle|