MONTREAL -- 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 at Bell Centre. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 35 saves for his third win in 15 career starts against the Canadiens.
"I don't care," Rask said of snapping Montreal's winning streak against the Bruins. "I felt good against them, but I think I still have that losing record against them, so I've got to win some more games."
Boston (43-17-5) received a goal each from Milan Lucic, Carl Soderberg, Patrice Bergeron, and Zdeno Chara, giving the Bruins 26 goals with 10 against over the course of their season-high six-game winning streak.
"It's always a challenge and especially against a team that's had our number the way that they had this year and three out of four times last year," said Lucic, who scored his 20th goal of the season to make it 3-0 Bruins and put the game out of reach near the end of the second period. "We had to get that out of the back of our mind and focus on what we need to do to be successful and that's what helped us get ready for this game."
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.
The Canadiens have scored seven goals in five games. In an effort to spark the offense, coach Michel Therrien shuffled his forward lines in the third period, something that may lead to further changes when Montreal plays a back-to-back this weekend against the Ottawa Senators at home Saturday and the Buffalo Sabres on the road Sunday.
"We're trying to find solutions about scoring because we create some scoring chances, but we can't finish right now," Therrien said. "We will find solutions about chemistry with players and find solutions about putting players that feel comfortable playing together."
Montreal outshot Boston 36-32, becoming the third team to do that to the Bruins in their past 20 games, but not enough of those shots found their past Rask.
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.
"It's part of managing momentum and seizing the opportunities you have," Canadiens captain Brian Gionta said. "That's what happens when you don't do that."
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.
"Yes," Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk said when asked if it was satisfying to snap the streak. "You like that one-word answer?"
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.
"We played a great first period, created a lot of chances, shots," Vanek said. "We just kind of got frustrated. That's a good team over there, good coaching staff. They adjusted and took our speed away. But even after that, I thought we chipped it in well, didn't play a bad game at all in the second. It's a good team and good teams find way to score, and they did."
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.
"Tuukka stopped some breakaways," Bruins coach Claude Julien said, "but like I said before, that's what we pay him to do -- stop those pucks."
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.
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.
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.
|Carl Soderberg (12) ASST: NONE|
1 - 0 BOS
|Patrice Bergeron (19) ASST: Brad Marchand (20), Matt Bartkowski (14)|
2 - 0 BOS
|Milan Lucic (20) ASST: Jarome Iginla (30), David Krejci (40)|
3 - 0 BOS
|Zdeno Chara (15) ASST: Patrice Bergeron (26), Brad Marchand (21)|
4 - 0 BOS
|David Desharnais (12) ASST: Max Pacioretty (14), Thomas Vanek (33)|
4 - 1 BOS
|Andrej Meszaros Interference against Brendan Gallagher|
|Brandon Prust Holding against David Krejci|
|Johnny Boychuk Interference against Travis Moen|
|Jarome Iginla Holding against Thomas Vanek|
|Kevan Miller Fighting (maj) against Brandon Prust|
|Brandon Prust Fighting (maj) against Kevan Miller|
|Jordan Caron Roughing against Lars Eller|
|Lars Eller Boarding against Jordan Caron|
|Lars Eller Roughing against Jordan Caron|