For the Bruins, the 4-1 victory in Montreal meant three straight wins for the first time since mid-December.
For the Canadiens, the loss marked their fifth straight defeat.
Boston added two more points to their repertoire, while the Habs fell out of a playoff position.
“It is very satisfying,” said Max Talbot, who scored his second goal of the season (and as a Bruin) to put Boston up 1-0 in the first period. “You know, yes, it’s Montreal in one way, but it’s the standings, you know? These are points we need to get that we work hard to get, because everybody’s so tight in the standings.”
“So we’re very, very happy with the two points. We’ll enjoy it tonight and think about next game [on Wednesday].”
In addition to Talbot’s goal, Patrice Bergeron potted the game-winner, David Pastrnak added an assist and an insurance goal in his return from an upper-body injury, and Brad Marchand sealed the 4-1 win with an empty-netter.
It was an emotional night for Talbot, who welcome his daughter Lou into the world on Sunday.
Earlier this season, Bergeron potted a goal in his first game back after his son was born.
“He just said that he scored the night he had his baby, so it was my first game after having my little girl, so I felt I maybe should get a goal for her,” Talbot smiled. “And after I got the goal, in between the first and second, I came to and I’m like, ‘two goals, she deserves two goals’ and unfortunately I couldn’t get it, but it was fun.”
Talbot struck first with 6:52 left in the opening frame. When Talbot’s initial breakaway attempt was stopped by Habs netminder Mike Condon, Andrei Markov tried to clear the puck but turned it over.
The Bruin hopped right on the errant clear and his shot bounced off a few Canadiens before beating Condon.
Talbot’s line had been consistently creating chances during the Bruins’ recent stretch of games. While Landon Ferraro couldn’t suit up in Montreal — after being deemed day-to-day with a lower body injury — Pastrnak added jump to that line in his return along with Zac Rinaldo.
Late in the second period, Pastrnak hunted down the puck on the forecheck, with Bergeron wrapping around the goal and stuffing in his 18th goal of the season to give Boston a 2-1 lead.
With the goal, Bergeron and his 591 points moved into sole possession of ninth on the Bruins’ all-time scoring list (passing Cam Neely).
Half of Bergeron’s goals this season have given the Bruins a lead.
“Anytime you can get a lead on the road, playing the way we were playing — I thought we had some good looks and we were playing well,” said Bergeron. “But the second was kind of a little bit more on our heels and they got some good chances. It was great to get that lead, get that goal and that was a great play by Pastrnak and Rinaldo on the forecheck.”
The shot totals were lopsided for the final 40 minutes, with the Canadiens outshooting the Bruins 30-14 in that span, but Tuukka Rask didn’t feel overworked.
“Felt good,” said Rask, who made 38 saves on 39 shots.
“Tuukka was really good tonight,” said Julien. “I think defensively we were good. Whenever there was the odd breakdown or them making a great play, I think Tuukka came up big for us.”
Rask had to be sharp early in the first, when the Habs came out firing, eliciting a booming “Go Habs Go! Go Habs Go!” chant from the home crowd.
Montreal was, after all, coming off back-to-back road losses and trying to get out of their months-long slump.
The Habs outshot the Bruins 4-0 in the first five minutes. The first period had ebbs and flows of momentum, with pockets of chances at both ends. Boston ended up on top, 1-0, after 20 minutes, thanks to Talbot.
“There were a lot of sequences where they got like three or four shots in a short period of time, rebound or what not,” said Rask. “I think we kind of lost our coverage there in our own end at times that led to their chances, but you know, sometimes that’s how it goes. You just have to try to find a way to make saves.”
Thanks to Rask’s work, the Bruins were able to take the lead late in the second and then get the two-goal lead in the third.
Another fortuitous bounce off an attempted clear by Montreal led to Pastrnak picking up the puck and scoring on a wraparound with 7:46 to go in regulation. He made the most of his 7:05 logged ice time.
“He did a great job,” said Julien. “We put him on the fourth line, not to have to play against top lines, and at the same time, with two guys that work hard their butts off and create things.”
“So when I put him out there in the third, in the middle of the third period, I said, ‘Guys, go out there and have a great shift for us’ and not only that, butPasta did a great job of jumping on that loose puck and scoring the insurance goal, so he did a great job there and for this young player who hasn’t played in a while, it was a good start for him.”
The fourth line ended the night with two goals and two assists.
“They played a great game,” said Bergeron. “Every time they were on the ice, they had a chance or they were making something happen on the ice. Their forecheck I thought was the result of two goals — three goals, actually — so it was a great game by them.”
Most importantly, the Bruins were able to push the pace and close out another third period.
“It’s something we talked about. We saw the result the last two games and tonight again,” said Bergeron. “We’ve got to keep the way we’re playing in the first two periods if you want to find success in the third and I thought tonight was a good example again — being on our and keep going forward. We’ve got to keep putting pressure, and we saw some good results out of it.”
“They had a good push there in the second period, but we came out in the third and we were determined to win that game,” said Julien. “To win that game, we had to be the better team and I thought we did a great job in that third period of pushing the pace and finding ways to get those goals.”
Those in Black & Gold didn’t necessarily have their most recent meeting with Montreal at the Winter Classic in mind, but it certainly felt good to get a different outcome.
“They were a point behind us, so if we didn’t want to slide down and wanted to try and move up, we needed to win this game,” said Julien. “That was the most important thing, but there’s no doubt, when you look back and say, wow, at least this last game against them we won 4-1. They beat us 5-1. So it feels a little bit better.”