Updated at 10:38 p.m. with Carbo audio, new photo
Canadiens’ Mathieu Dandenault celebrates the first of his two third-period goals against Boston tonight.
Adam Hunger, Reuters
That noted sniper Mathieu Dandenault came out of Tuesday’s press box, having been a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career, and responded with two goals.
Is that Guy Carbonneau a magician, or what?
Deflections, caroms and pucks bouncing wildly off the glass, a goal post and the end boards turned the Canadiens-Boston Bruins game into an unpredictable adventure, and a robust contest that surely left more than one bruise by the time it was done.
The Canadiens leave Beantown with a 5-2 victory in their carry-ons, having gotten two goals from Dandenault, singles from Tomas Plekanec, Maxim Lapierre and Alex Kovalev, and a world-class physical effort from blue-line pillar Mike Komisarek.
It was the eighth consecutive victory for Montreal over Boston, not that this one was a walk by any means. The Habs rolled out to a 3-0 lead, then saw the Bruins claw back to within one before they stretched their margin to two. Dandenault’s second of the game iced it.
Montreal improved its record to 22-13-8, and has gone 5-0-2 in their last seven games. Tonight’s game was the Habs’ fifth victory over the Bruins this season.
The Canadiens needed just eight shots to jump out to a 2-0 lead. Plekanec scored his 14th of the year – well, kind of – when he banked a power-play cross-ice shot off the glove of Boston captain Zdeno Chara and past Bruins goalie Tim Thomas at 10:36.
Lapierre, the former Hamilton Bulldog who seems very happy with his lot in life in Montreal, bulled his way to his second of the year, crashing Thomas’s crease 54 seconds later to bang home the rebound of a shot by Christopher Higgins.
The Bruins paid for Shawn Thornton’s cheap-shot punch at Habs defenceman Roman Hamrlik, providing the Canadiens with another power-play opportunity roughly 13 minutes into the second.
Thornton drew an extra roughing minor for having thrown a fist at Hamrlik, who was tied up by a linesman during a scrum behind the Bruins net. With the man advantage, Kovalev capitalized with his 19th, a bullet from his preferred faceoff circle to the short side of Thomas at 13:18 on a splendid cross-ice pass from Mark Streit.
Boston got on the board at 14:41, Aaron Ward getting a lucky bounce when his shot came off the back boards and caromed in off the leg of Canadiens goalie Cristobal Huet.
Milan Lucic closed the Habs lead to one 2:01 into the third, taking advantage of a poor clearing attempt by the goalie. From the faceoff circle, Lucic rattled a shot off the short-side post and, again, into the back of Huet before the puck bounced into the goal.
With all the momentum going Boston’s way, and the Bruins having come close nearing the midway mark of the period after Saku Koivu drew a tripping penalty, Dandenault again gave the Habs a two-goal lead.
Dandenault scored his fifth of the season – and first in 13 games – at 11:56 on a partially fanned backhand that fooled Thomas, slipping between his pads.
And then he scored again on a pretty give-and-go with Streit at 18:49 to close out the scoring.
The Canadiens head for New York and their Saturday date with the Rangers, then take on the Islanders at Long Island on Tuesday and the Thrashers in Atlanta next Thursday before returning home on Jan. 19 to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Mathieu Dandenault (right) celebrates a goal with teammates Josh Gorges (left) and Francis Bouillon.
Elsa, Getty Images