BOSTON -- The Montreal Canadiens continue to have the Boston Bruins’ number.
Montreal defeated its Atlantic Division rival for the third time this season. Goaltender Carey Price earned his second shutout of the season with 33 saves, and Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Markov provided the goals in a 2-0 victory at TD Garden on Saturday.
The Canadiens (16-5-1) won the previous two games with the Bruins by a combined score of 11-5. Montreal has won nine of the past 10 against Boston and the past five played here during the regular season. Montreal defeated Boston in seven games in the Eastern Conference Second Round last season.
"We played a solid defensive game, a good-checking game, and I thought for the most part we managed the puck well,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "We didn’t want to give them any life with the puck, and we were capable of scoring the second goal by playing the turnover, and we got a really quick counterattack, so it was important for us to know to manage the puck really well against the Bruins tonight."
Price had never shut out Boston in the regular season.
"Yeah, they’re harder," Price said about games against Boston. "They’re a hard-working team, blue-collar. They make you earn it every time you come here, and tonight I thought we played a pretty good road game."
Boston (13-9-0), which had won its past six home games, continued to deal with injuries. The Bruins were without forwards Chris Kelly, Brad Marchand and David Krejci. Defensemen Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid are on injured reserve.
The Bruins dressed five rookies: forwards Matt Fraser, Seth Griffith, Alexander Khokhlachev and Matt Lindblad, and defenseman Joe Morrow.
"You almost need a perfect game, and you need a bounce here or there," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Their first goal, that puck had eyes and went through a bunch of people and just inside the corner. So we could have used that break. But again, I credit my players for just going out there and competing hard and well and giving ourselves a chance."
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made 21 saves. He is 3-12-3 in the regular season against the Canadiens.
"We recognize when we play good and when we don’t play good, and tonight we played a good game and could have easily got a point or two," he said.
"But then again, sometimes we just don’t play good at all against them and then it’s kind of psychological. But we just feel like we have to play good against them and eliminate their odd-man rushes and stuff like we did today for the most part and it’s going to be good. So I feel like there’s no worry in the locker room why we couldn’t beat them."
Markov scored the first goal, the Canadiens' first power-play goal in four games, at 11:37 of the first period. Plekanec beat Patrice Bergeron clean on a faceoff at the right dot. Brendan Gallagher passed to Markov at the right point for a wrist shot that went through traffic past Rask.
Markov has 100 NHL goals, and he’s the fourth Montreal defenseman to reach that milestone, joining Guy Lapointe (166), Larry Robinson (197) and Serge Savard (100).
"Something special, not just for a defenseman, like for any player," Markov said. "I don’t know what to say. I’m just happy to have those and score those 100 goals. Thanks to all my teammates who’ve supported me and helped me for that. Without them, I would never be there."
Boston forward Carl Soderberg made an errant pass behind Milan Lucic on a Bruins 3-on-2 in the second period leading to Plekanec's goal at 8:59 off a deflected pass by Gallagher.
"Every time we play in Boston it’s a fun game," Plekanec said. "It’s fun to win those games and it seems like we’re always ready when we come to this building. I don’t think it was our best game tonight but we had [Price] in the net and with him we have a chance to win every night."