MONTREAL — While the stage was not nearly as grand — the Bell Centre vs. Gillette Stadium – and the audience was not nearly as big, the Bruins were able to do on Tuesday what they did not on Jan. 1: Show up and beat the Canadiens.
After being embarrassed at the Winter Classic, the Bruins got a small measure of revenge in a game that was worth exactly the same number of points in the standings as that New Year's Day game. Behind stellar goaltending from Tuukka Rask (38 saves) and goals from each of the French Canadians on the Bruins (Max Talbot, Patrice Bergeron), the Bruins ran their winning streak to three games with a 4-1 victory over Montreal.
As Matt Beleskey had said of the 5-1 loss, "Obviously it was an embarrassing game for us. That was a big stage and I don't think any of us performed the way we wanted. You move on from it, but you don't forget it."
The game was solidified with 7:46 left in the third period, when David Pastrnak took the puck around the back of the net and slipped it past Mike Condon for his fourth goal of the season.
Pastrnak, who skated on the fourth line against Montreal in place of the injured Landon Ferraro, returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury. He also had the primary assist on Bergeron's winner in the second period.
Brad Marchand added an empty-netter with 1:23 left to seal it.
For the first time in their last six games, the Bruins went into the third period leading by a goal. Bergeron cashed in at 16:49 of the second period, passing Cam Neely for ninth on the Bruins all-time scoring list with 591 points. On the goal, Condon was facing the other direction when Bergeron took the puck around the back of the net off a Pastrnak shot, scoring past a diving Condon to give the Bruins a 2-1 edge.
Though the Canadiens were pushing early, the Bruins were the first to score.
Max Talbot had a breakaway in the first period, but Condon made the save. The puck went to Andrei Markov, who proceeded to give it right back to Talbot as he came across the right circle. Once he reached the edge of the circle, he fired again.
This time, he scored.
The goal gave the Bruins the lead at 13:08 of the first period. It was the second of the season for Talbot.
The Bruins got a power-play chance later on in the period, though they weren't able to make much of it. In fact, the best bid was by the Canadiens, a tipped shot off the stick of Paul Byron, but Tuukka Rask stopped it with 1:33 left in the period.
Rask had to make another difficult save less than two minutes into the second period, as a shot nearly bounced past him with six seconds left on the Canadiens' power play. But Rask – who had been sensational through the early going – managed to keep it out of the net.
But he couldn't keep it out forever, and Mark Barberio made him pay at 8:28 of the second period, as the Bruins defense left him open after a beauty of a pass from P.K. Subban. Subban sent the pass from the slot to right circle, where Barberio one-timed the puck for the first goal of his Canadiens' career.