Montreal has always been a tough place for visiting players. Add Tuukka Rask to that list.
Boston's rookie goaltender misplayed Hal Gill's seemingly harmless dump-in off the lively end boards at the Bell Centre, leading directly to Sergei Kostitsyn's second goal of the game and Montreal's 3-2 win over the Bruins on Saturday night.
Kostitsyn, who has three goals in two games, put Montreal up 3-1 early in the third when he jumped on the puck after it under Rask's stick and scored into a wide-open net 1:41 into the third period, beating the Finnish goalie's desperate stick lunge.
"I think I misread it," Rask said. "I went to play it on my forehand. To me, it seems like it came out of the boards faster than before it hit the boards. It's tough when your goalie makes a mistake like that. It shows on the scoreboard and tonight it cost us the game."
The Bruins, eighth in the East, missed a chance to gain on seventh-place Montreal and get some more breathing space on the ninth-place New York Rangers. Boston has 72 points, three ahead of the Rangers with two games in hand. TampaBay is four points behind Boston.
"All in all, the way Montreal's been playing thus far, we didn't put a full 60-minute effort in and I think that's what hurt us today," said Milan Lucic, who scored with 8:14 left in regulation to get Boston within one goal.
Andrei Markov had a goal and an assist for Montreal, which is 6-1-0 since resuming play after the Olympic break and has won five in a row.
Jaroslav Halak stopped Marco Sturm with less than five minutes remaining in the third for the best of his 21 saves, helping the Canadiens' to their longest winning streak since a five-game run from Oct. 11-20, 2008.
"It's a team game," said Halak, who has won all five games during the streak. "The guys were there for me most of the game -- when I needed to be there, I made a stop."
Montreal remained tied for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with Philadelphia. Both teams have 76 points, though the Canadiens have played three more games.
"Every morning we see the board and it's always nice to look at it after we win," Markov said.
Rask stopped 24 shots and Blake Wheeler had the other goal for the Bruins, now 2-2-1 in the first five games of a seven-game trip.
Lucic drew the Bruins within one when he circled back along the right side in the Canadiens zone to the top of the slot and fired a wrist shot through traffic past Halak for his seventh goal.
Markov extended his points streak to six games when he opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 6:02 of the opening period. He Russian defenseman was credited with his fifth goal when his slap shot from the point hit Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg's 's stick and went past Rask.
Markov got his second point of the opening period with an assist on Kostitsyn's goal with 39.5 seconds left. Kostitsyn used a backhand swipe to put the puck inside the left post from the edge of the crease after Markov made a return pass from behind the goal line.
"I hope my best games are in the future," said Markov, who has 27 points while being limited to 33 games because of injuries this season. "Right now, I'm having fun."
Wheeler drew the Bruins to 2-1 with his 16th goal 72 seconds into the second period.
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report
|PPG - Andrei Markov (5) ASST: Benoit Pouliot (9), Andrei Kostitsyn (15)|
1 - 0 MTL
|Sergei Kostitsyn (4) ASST: Andrei Markov (22), Dominic Moore (13)|
2 - 0 MTL
|Blake Wheeler (16) ASST: Michael Ryder (12), David Krejci (23)|
2 - 1 MTL
|Sergei Kostitsyn (5) ASST: Hal Gill (7), Dominic Moore (14)|
3 - 1 MTL
|Milan Lucic (7) ASST: Vladimir Sobotka (4)|
3 - 2 MTL
|Roman Hamrlik Elbowing against Vladimir Sobotka|
|Mark Stuart Holding against Andrei Kostitsyn|
|Jaroslav Spacek Tripping against Blake Wheeler|
|Marco Sturm Elbowing against Benoit Pouliot|
|Mark Stuart Interference against Brian Gionta|
|Milan Lucic Roughing against Andrei Kostitsyn|
|Andrei Kostitsyn Interference against Milan Lucic|
|Josh Gorges Interference against Vladimir Sobotka|
|Andrei Markov Roughing against Marco Sturm|
|Marco Sturm Roughing against Andrei Markov|