Game 58: Gionta scores winner, Halak shines again

Canadiens’ Brian Gionta scores the winning goal in the shootout Thursday night on Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. Adam Hunger, Reuters

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AUDIO: Jacques Martin | Brian Gionta | Jaro Halak | Josh Gorges | Glen Metropolit | Roman Hamrlik

• At a Glance: For the second straight game, Jaroslav Halak faced more than 40 shots on goal and once again, he was the difference for the Canadiens as they stole two points in Boston with a 3-2 shootout win over the Bruins on Thursday night. Two nights after making 45 saves against the Vancouver Canucks, Halak stopped 45 Boston shots while his teammates could muster only 25 shots on Tuukka Rask. Mark Recchi scored his 11th of the season on the power play in the first period, during which the Bruins outshot Montreal 15-5. Blake Wheeler made it 2-0 early in the second period and it looked like they were on their way to an easy win. But the Canadiens scored two goals within 39 seconds near the end of the second period to tie things up. Glen Metropolit scored his 11th of the season on a power play, his first goal since December. Roman Hamrlik tied it 2-2 with a shot that Rask couldn’t see thanks to Mathieu Darche being parked in the goaltender’s crease. Brian Gionta scored the winning goal in the shootout with a great move and a backhand shot under the crossbar.

• Key Moments: The Canadiens were able to kill off a Boston power play in overtime, and limited the Bruins to only one goal in six man advantages. Montreal was 1-for-2 on the power play.

• What It Means: Montreal improves to 27-25-6 for 60 points, moving the Canadiens into sixth spot in the Eastern Conference. Montreal also puts some distance between themselves and the Bruins, who are at 56 points but have three games in hand. The Bruins have now lost nine straight games.

• What’s Next: The Canadiens are back home for afternoon games this weekend with the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Bell Centre on Saturday and the Bruins in Montreal on Super Bowl Sunday.

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