BOSTON -- Montreal's special teams really were special Thursday night.
The Canadiens' power play generated goals by P.K. Subban and Brian Gionta, and the penalty-killers were perfect on all four Boston man advantages as Montreal continued its domination of the Bruins with a 3-1 victory at TD Garden on Thursday night.
"Special teams were the difference in the hockey game," Montreal coach Jacques Martin said after the Canadiens beat the Bruins for the sixth time in seven meetings and the fourth time in a row in Boston. "I think that our two power-play goals for us and our penalty killing did an outstanding job -- and our goaltending was strong again."
The Canadiens, who had managed just four power-play goals all season, went 2-for-5. The second one, by Gionta, came 29 second into the third period and broke a 1-1 tie.
"I thought the couple that we had, obviously we were successful on. We kept it simple," the Canadiens' captain said. "But on the power play and the PK we just took a shot. Got set up, got in position and just took a shot. Same thing kind of with the other power-play goal. We won the battle down low in off the dump, kind of supported each other, kicked it back out and then some plays kind of opened up from there."
Carey Price stopped 34 shots to win a goaltending battle with Boston's Tuukka Rask, who was solid with 38 saves but dropped to 0-4-1 this season -- in contrast, Tim Thomas is 8-0-0.
Bruins coach Claude Julien defended his young goaltender.
"Tonight we weren't a very good team in front of him. I thought he played well in St. Louis and took us into a shootout. But I don't know that I would go after him and say that he's not playing well," Julien said. "I think we need to help him out a little bit. When goalies find their groove, it's because the team in front of him play maybe better than we have."
Gionta, who went to school at Boston College, broke a 1-1 tie when he converted Mike Cammalleri's power-play pass. Scott Gomez added an insurance goal at 9:30, putting home Andrei Kostitsyn's rebound for his first goal since the Canadiens' second game of the season.
When asked if scoring a goal had relieved some pressure, Gomez said he would have preferred that his linemates had gotten one.
"I'd rather have Andrei (Kostitsyn) or Halpy (Jeff Halpern) score," he said. "The chances have been there, it's not like they weren't. I didn't change anything up. I've gone throughout this before and obviously I've got to shoot the puck more. It boils down to two points and we're right there in the standings and for me to worry about myself, that's selfish, that's not me."??????
The Bruins tested Price, especially in the second period, but the 23-year-old came up with a number of big saves, including a terrific glove stop on Gregory Campbell after which he batted the puck to clear it away from his crease.
"That is a team that seems like they come out strong in this building," Price said. "They feed off of the fans. They have really good fans here. They bring a lot of energy."
Price is justifying the Canadiens' faith in dealing playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis and giving him the No. 1 job. He's started all but one game.
"He's doing what he's been doing all year. Keeping us in games, giving us a chance," Gionta said of Price, who has allowed just six goals in his last four games. "You know, it's a tie game going into the third; we've got a power play so he's giving us that chance."
Rookie defenseman P.K Subban gave the Canadiens the lead 5:19 into the game during a power play when he beat Rask with a one-timer for his first NHL regular-season goal -- he had one in 14 playoff games last spring after being called up. This one came 19 seconds after Tyler Seguin was sent off for tripping.
Subban jumped for joy after he scored.
"I didn't know what to do. I mean, usually when I score, I do something embarrassing anyways so I won't hear the end of it," he said. "We've been winning, so that is the most important thing. But obviously it is a relief. We need power-play goals too, so it is just good that I can put our team up one nothing. On the road it is always a relief when you can get that early goal. So, happy I got it."
Zdeno Chara tied it when he beat Price at 15:49. Patrice Bergeron initiated the play by diving along the boards to keep the puck in the zone and getting the puck to Milan Lucic, who circled the net and fed Chara, who scored his fourth of the season on a sizzling wrist shot that Price had no chance on.
"That is the type of shot you want to have beat you," Price said. "If you are going to put it off the crossbar and in the net, then you tip your hat to other guy."
This was the second of back-to-back games for the Bruins who scored five times in the third period of a 7-4 victory at Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
"Well, that should never be an excuse," Milan Lucic said of the back-to-back games. "We work out all summer and we're highly trained athletes. We should be able to play two games in two nights, so it should not be an excuse."