MONTREAL - Drayson Bowman scored with 48 seconds left in regulation time to lift the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins in the opening NHL pre-season game for both clubs on Tuesday night.
Christian Thomas set up the winner with a backhand pass across the crease and also scored the tying goal late in the second period. Jiri Sekac had Montreal's other goal.
Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser scored for Boston.
Only 1:17 in, first round pick Nikita Scherbak's blind backpass was picked off by Spooner, who went in alone to beat Dustin Tokarski.
The teams exchanged power-play goals, with Fraser sniping from the slot at 9:12 and Sekac beating Niklas Svedberg on a shot that went off David Krejci's stick at 19:52.
Svedberg was solid in the second, but Thomas tied the game on a power play at 16:49 from a wild scramble in front of the net.
The Bell Centre crowd greeted Malcolm Subban, brother of Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban, with raspberries as he took over in Boston's goal for the third frame. Subban stopped Joe Finlay in alone and made an alert save on Scherbak from the slot before giving up the winner.
Joey MacDonald relieved Tokarski midway through the second.
Michael McCarron, Montreal's 2013 first-round pick, suffered an arm or shoulder injury late in the second period when he went to the net against Boston's David Warsofsky. He did not return. The team said he has an upper-body injury.
As is usual for early pre-season games, both sides rested most of their regulars. So Boston was without Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and other stars. Montreal's first line, top defenceman Subban and goalie Carey Price were among the scratches for the Canadiens.