Boston -- The Boston Bruins fell to the Montreal Canadiens, 6-3, Thursday night at the TD Banknorth Garden.
The Canadiens, who were down 3-1 at one point in the second period, scored four unanswered goals in the third stanza to complete their comeback and defeat the Bruins in the second half of a crucial home-at-home series.
"That performance was definitely not what we are looking for," said a clearly frustrated Boston head coach Dave Lewis after the game.
The Bruins, desperate to make amends for an inconsistent month of March, ground their way to a 2-1 lead in the opening session. Boston fired 13 shots on Canadiens netminder Jaroslav Halak and pushed two goals by him early.
B's rookie Phil Kessel scored at 2:09 of the first to put his club ahead, 1-0. The CH's Andrei Markov added a power play goal for Montreal at 7:23. But Marco Sturm put the Bruins up, 2-1, when he took a feed from Brandon Bochenski and beat the Habs goalie at 17:33.
Then, in the second period, Bruins forward Mark Mowers scored his fifth goal of the season at 7:32 and put Boston ahead 3-1.
That is until Tomas Plekanec scored his 18th of the campaign at 18:11. Despite the late Canadiens rally, however, the Black & Gold went to the locker room up 3-2.
"That goal really hurt us," said Lewis of the Plekanec's score. "It changed momentum and it changed energy levels for both teams."
The third period would prove to be Boston's ultimate undoing.
"They built on that (second goal), and we took some careless penalties in the third period," said Lewis. "And we couldn't stop (them)…they got some great opportunities."
Montreal tied the game, 3-3, on the power play when the Canadiens Mike Johnson beat Thomas on a one-timer at 6:35. Maxime LaPierre added another at 8:02 to make the score 4-3 in favor of Montreal. Former Yale standout, Christopher Higgins, scored his 20th goal of the season at 8:51 to make the score 5-3. With a man advantage, Michael Ryder scored the Habs' sixth goal at 13:37 to make the score 6-3 and ice the game for Montreal.
Asked how he addressed his team after the game, Coach Lewis said, "I didn't talk to them after the game. They know the reality of where we are (in the season)."
"It was a difficult evening," he said in a purposeful understatement.
Boston returns to the ice versus the New York Rangers Saturday in Boston.