BOSTON (AP) - Claude Julien thought his Montreal Canadiens looked sluggish, tired and average.
They were still good enough to beat the Boston Bruins.
Michael Ryder backhanded in the rebound of Alex Kovalev's shot on the power play with 11.1 seconds remaining to give the Canadiens a 2-1 win Wednesday night.
``I guess at the end there we got a little bit lucky, got a bounce, and found a way to win,'' Julien said.
Bruins forward Tom Fitzgerald was called for hooking with 26 seconds to play to set up the Canadiens' power play.
``We've all had explained as to what is going to be called,'' Fitzgerald said. ``Players were on the rules committee, so we all have to adjust.''
Jan Bulis also had a goal, and Jose Theodore made 29 saves for Montreal.
Patrice Bergeron scored for Boston, which outshot the Canadiens 30-21 but failed to score on seven power-play opportunities, including four in the third period. The Bruins also failed to score on a four-minute power play in the second period.
``We didn't execute on the power play and that was the difference,'' Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said.
The Bruins' best chance with the man advantage came with about seven minutes to play when Brad Isbister misfired from close range on Shawn McEachern's cross-ice pass. McEachern fanned on the rebound of Brian Leetch's slap shot about midway through the period.
``We had the opportunities to break the game open and we didn't,'' Sullivan said.
The Canadiens went on top at 10:50 of the first period when Bulis took a lead pass from Niklas Sundstrom, skated down the left wing, fought off Bruins rookie defenseman Kevin Dallman, and flipped the puck over Andrew Raycroft's left shoulder. Raycroft made 19 saves.
The Bruins had a chance to tie it less than two minutes later, but Isbister couldn't control Glen Murray's pass on a two-on-one break.
Bergeron evened it at 17:44 when he skated down the right wing and lifted a 30-foot shot over Theodore's shoulder.
Ryder's winner came on his only shot of the game.
``I thought he played an average game,'' Julien said. ``But good players find a way to make a difference, and although he had an average game, he found a way to score the winning goal.''
The anticipated rash of penalties based on the preseason enforcement of new rules designed to cut down on clutching and grabbing, did not occur, at least in the first two periods. Each team had only one penalty in the first period, and two each in the second.
``Tonight was a big difference from the preseason,'' Leetch said. ``Guys were letting players skate by instead of hooking them.''
The Bruins penalty-killing unit held the Canadiens without a shot on net during a second-period power play. Montreal didn't get its first shot on goal in the period until there were nearly 16 minutes elapsed. The Bruins outshot the Canadiens 12-3 in the second, but couldn't score on a four-minute power play.
``Obviously, the second period was a real bad period for us,'' Julien said. ``We were lucky to come out of that period still tied, thanks to Jose's work.''
The Bruins hadn't lost to the Canadiens in their previous six regular-season meetings (3-0-3). Boston had however, lost three in a row in the playoffs to Montreal during the 2003-04 season when the Canadiens came back to win a seven-game series after being down 3-1 for the first time.
Notes Former Bruins great Milt Schmidt, whose No. 15 is retired, and who was a player, coach and general manager of the team, dropped the ceremonial first puck. ... Former Bruins Derek Sanderson and John ``Pie'' McKenzie and former Canadiens Henri Richard and Yvon Cournoyer also participated in pregame ceremonies. ... The Bruins and Canadiens have played more than any two teams in NHL history. Wednesday's game was the 670th between the clubs. ... Bruins forwards Dave Scatchard (groin strain) and Alex Zhamnov (bruised shoulder) didn't play.