Bruins’ Blake Wheeler and Canadiens’ Ryan O’Byrne exchange pleasantries during Sunday’s first period.
Christinne Muschi, Reuters
• At a Glance: A super Sunday but, alas, only for the Bruins, with a goaltender other than the Canadiens’ Jaroslav Halak stealing the show. Riding a 10-game winless streak, one more loss from tying a franchise record for futility, Boston scored twice in the first period then held on for a 3-0 victory over the Habs at the Bell Centre. Adam McQuaid scored the first goal of his career to open the scoring at 17:32, that coming on a heavy-traffic slapper, then Marco Sturm beat Halak with less than four seconds on the clock, a deflected puck landing on Sturm’s stick with Halak moving the other way. The second period was all Montreal’s, the Habs outshooting their visitors 15-3, but Boston goalie Tuukka Rask, who made 36 saves to Halak’s 24, was equal to them all. Sturm salted the game away midway through the third, his snap shot deflecting off defenceman Josh Gorges’s stick past Halak.
• Key Moments: Sturm’s goal in the last gasp of the first period. And Rask, who was dominant throughout, twice robbing Tomas Plekanec in the second, first with a glove grab, then later on a breakaway with a terrific right-pad stop.
• What It Means: With a win, Montreal could have pulled three points ahead of Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference standings. Even with the loss, however, the Habs remain in sixth place, their 62 points one ahead of the Lightning but with Tampa holding three games in hand.
• What’s Next: The Canadiens return to action at home on Wednesday vs. the Washington Capitals of Alexander Ovechkin, who scored a hat trick and assisted Sunday in the Caps’ 5-4 overtime win over Pittsburgh – Washington’s 14th (!) straight win. Montreal then plays back-to-back Friday and Saturday against the Flyers, opening in Philadelphia then at the Bell Centre to send themselves into the Olympic break.