Montreal, QUE -
Cristobal Huet recorded his first Montreal shutout and the Canadiens squeezed out a 2-0 win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon to split the home-and-home series. The Bruins took the first game on Thursday, a 3-1 win at the Garden. Andrei Markov made his return to the lineup felt when he knocked in a rebound past Tim Thomas
for the eventual game-winner. Despite the loss, Thomas did all he could to give his team a chance to win and made 27 saves.
"I saw a lot of good things today," said Head Coach Mike Sullivan. "I thought for the most part we controlled the play five-on-five, but obviously the difference was special teams. (Montreal) got a power play goal and we had opportunities in the second period to get it down on the power play and we didn't get it done. I thought five-on-five we did a great job and that was the reason we got power plays. Our activity up the ice forced them to get penalties in order to defend against us."
The Bruins picked up where they left off on Thursday night against the Canadiens. They out shot the Habs 15-7 in the first period, but couldn't get one past Montreal netminder Cristobal Huet. Boston's best bid of the period came shorthanded when Patrice Bergeron
sent Marco Sturm in on a breakaway, but was denied by Huet.
The second period was much of the same as the Bruins poured the pressure on and forced Huet to turn away 12 shots. At the other end of the ice, Tim Thomas
was perfect in his net and made 8 saves. The two period shot total was in favor of the B's, 27-15.
Montreal broke the tie at 10:22 of the third period on the power play. From the right circle, Alexei Kovalev beat Thomas with a quick wrist shot, but rang off the left post. The puck bounced to Andrei Markov, who one-timed it past Thomas for his eighth goal of the season and put the Habs up 1-0.
With 1:30 left in the third, Boston took to the power play. The Bruins pressured hard and forced Huet to make consecutive saves to keep the B's off the scoreboard. Sergei Samsonov had the best bid when Huet robbed him while on his back. Seconds later, Sheldon Souray cleared the zone and scored an empty net goal to seal the Canadiens 2-0 win.
Brad Boyes had his chances in the game, including two that hit the crossbar, but he couldn't solve Huet to extend his eight-game point streak.
"We definitely had our chances," said Boyes. "I hit a couple crossbars and their goalie played well. (Huet) gave his team the chance to win the game and made big saves, especially on the power play. That was the difference."
The Bruins get right back to action when they return home to play the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. in the first meeting between these teams. Currently, Carolina leads the NHL with 78 points.