Boston, MA - Patrice Bergeron
scored a highlight reel goal to break a second period tie and lift the Bruins past the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in the first game of a home-and-home series on Thursday night. Glen Murray tied the game just a minute earlier and Brad Boyes scored an empty net goal to seal the victory and put the B's within one point of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Tim Thomas
needed just 16 saves to record his seventh win.
"To the players credit, I think they've really stepped up their work ethic and their attitudes," said Sullivan. "These guys are playing spirited hockey right now and because of that, we're getting results. We're doing a great job with relentless puck pursuit up the ice. When we play that way, we are a difficult team to play against. We certainly have shown that we can get results when we play that type of game."
The Bruins had a great scoring opportunity to take the lead at 7:03 when P.J. Axelsson was hauled down from behind on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot for the Montreal infraction. Axelsson tried to shoot five-hole, but Canadiens goaltender Cristobal Huet made the save.
Montreal went up 1-0 when Tomas Plekanec received a home-run pass from Sheldon Souray and scored his seventh of the season. Plekanec went in on Thomas and beat him high glove-side at 15:14 of the first.
After Marco Sturm had a goal called back for a high stick, the Bruins tied it up on a two-man advantage by Glen Murray. Murray and Brad Stuart passed back and forth until Murray decided to switch sides with Stuart. After switching sides, Stuart fed Murray a pass that he one timed past Huet for his 15th goal of the season at 11:00 of the second period.
"It felt good to get there tonight," said Murray. "It's been about a month and it's been a long one. The win counts and we just have to keep it going."
Just 1:13 later, Bergeron connected on a spectacular give-and-go with Brad Boyes to snap the 1-1 tie. Bergeron gathered the puck from behind the Bruins' net and rushed the puck end-to-end. Upon entering the Montreal zone, he put a beautiful move on the Canadiens' defenders and split the defense. Bergeron then slid the puck over to Brad Boyes who passed it right back for the easy tap in and his 17th tally of the year. The goal put the B's up 2-1 and was their second power play goal of the night.
"I was more trying to look at what was open and I caught that forward flat footed," said Bergeron. "He didn't know which way I was going to go and that's how you beat guys. You make them think you're going one way and go the other way. When you come with that much speed, the defensemen don't have that much of a gap and you can create there. With Boyesie and I, we love to play together and we know where each other is on the ice.
"It's always a big rivalry against Montreal. There's always emotions and intensity that come with these types of games and it's always fun."
The Bruins dominated the Canadiens in the last two periods, outshooting Montreal 24-9. Boyes sealed the Boston victory on an empty net goal with 38 seconds left to play off a feed from Bergeron. Boyes extended his team-leading point streak to eight games with five goals and eight assists in that span.
The Bruins will head up to Montreal to play the second game of their home-and-home series with the Canadiens on Saturday afternoon. Face-off is at 12:00 p.m.