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Eller scores twice in Canadiens' win against Bruins

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- Montreal Canadiens forwards Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk and Alexander Semin forged their chemistry right from the start of training camp.

Their camaraderie is paying off early in the regular season.

Eller scored two goals, Galchenyuk had three assists and Semin had two assists in the Canadiens' 4-2 win against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Saturday.

The Canadiens (2-0-0) also got a goal from Galchenyuk with his line on the ice in their season-opening win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

"Preseason is always just a warm-up for the regular season," Galchenyuk said. "We felt we had it in the preseason, but this is different type of games. But at the end of the day, we knew it doesn't matter preseason or regular season, we knew had a lot of skill on our line and it was just a matter of time when we figured things out and started using it. And today we did pretty well."

Eller scored the first of his two goals at 2:15 of the second period to give Montreal a 2-0 lead. Eller's shot from the left hash mark eluded Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask after a give-and-go with Semin. Eller then gave the Canadiens a 3-0 lead at 7:47 of the second with a goal from the right circle after a feed by Galchenyuk.

"They're obviously very, very skilled," Eller said of his linemates. "They hold onto the puck for that second longer to be able to make the play and draw the guys to them. That's one of their strongest assets and we saw that today on some of the goals."

Forwards David Desharnais and Tomas Plekanec (empty net) also scored for the Canadiens and goaltender Carey Price had 19 saves on 21 shots. The Canadiens have won their past six games against Boston (0-2-0) dating back to March 12, 2014. Montreal last lost here Jan. 12, 2012, a span of seven games.

"Well, I think we don't play our hockey when we get to them," Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said. "And I think you know you can't hype it up. It's just another team, it's worth the same amount of points as every other game that you play. For whatever reason, we've got to work through it."

It took the Canadiens 1:25 to score first. During a power play, defenseman Andrei Markov found Desharnais uncovered in front of the Boston net. Rask (34 saves) stopped Desharnais' first shot, but the Canadiens forward buried his second effort for a 1-0 lead.

Boston's best chance to score came with David Pastrnak alone in front, but Price poke-checked Pastrnak's first effort and then made two saves before a whistle with 11:14 remaining.

Trailing 2-0 in the second period, the Bruins thought they scored their first goal at 6:30 when Loui Eriksson picked up a loose puck in the slot and beat Price with a backhand shot, but the goal was waved off because of goaltender interference. Bruins coach Claude Julien challenged the call, but it was confirmed after replays concluded Boston center Patrice Bergeron "made incidental contact" with Price, according to the NHL Situation Room.

"Yeah, you know I'm disappointed, but I think what people are going to realize in those kind of things is that on a lot of occasions we're going to agree to disagree, and that was the case tonight," Julien said. "I really felt [Bergeron], first of all when you look back at it, both his feet are outside the crease area, he got the inside position and then I felt that he was being pushed into their goaltender and even made that effort to get out. ... But that's why I say we're going to agree to disagree at times and I don't know what their reasoning is. They didn't take the time to explain. I don't think they need to."

The Bruins cut the lead to 3-1 at 14:26 of the second period when forward Matt Beleskey scored his first goal with Boston. Beleskey's pass attempt from the goal line to the front went off Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry and past Price.

Plekanec extended the lead to 4-1 with an empty-net goal with 53.2 seconds left. After a Torrey Mitchell match penalty, Bergeron scored a power-play goal to pull the Bruins back within 4-2. But their inability to contain Eller, Galchenyuk and Semin cost them.

"The three of us have chemistry out there, but we can't go into game and just rely on that," Galchenyuk said. "We've got to go. I think the difference for us was today we started competing a little bit more. We were winning those battles down low and we were moving our feet more. And then on top of that we started using our skill, which paid off in a positive way for us."

The Canadiens will visit the Ottawa Senators on Sunday; Boston hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

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