MONTREAL — The Bruins lost in regulation for the second time this season. Both setbacks left them sour at the NHL’s video replay system.
They dropped a 5-4 decision to the Canadiens at Bell Centre Tuesday night after believing they escaped a sloppy 40 minutes with a lead, thanks to a Charlie Coyle goal early in the third period.
The review showed Coyle to be a few snowflakes offside on a zone entry.
You could argue, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said, that Coyle had possession of the puck as he entered the zone. But that wasn’t his beef.
“The rule was put in place specifically for egregious [calls],” Cassidy said. “They’re over there [reviewing] for three minutes. You think, well, what is the purpose of this rule? Either you find something or you don’t.
“Three minutes. So now you’re looking for something for it to be offside. You know it’s going to go the other way, and it did. That’s where my beef comes from. Intent of the rule. You always want to get it right, but there was kind of a change this summer, punishing the coaches if they got it wrong, for this reason. They didn’t want three-minute reviews.
“Anyway, it was a big part of the game. Didn’t go our way, so that’s the way it goes some nights.”
A matter of minutes later, defenseman Ben Chiarot made it 5-4, Montreal, by powering a shot off Tuukka Rask’s trapper at 9:06 of the third.
In a fast, physical affair worthy of a Saturday night showcase, David Pastrnak scored his league-best 15th goal of the season, and the Bruins’ dazzling power play (1 for 2) continued to shine. Connor Clifton and Sean Kuraly scored their first goals of the season, in a game Zdeno Chara was recognized — and given a standing ovation in the unfriendliest of territories — for playing his 1,500th game.
After falling behind, 3-1, after the first period, and being outplayed by the speedy Habs for long stretches, Boston (11-2-2) thought it had its first lead of the night at 5:23 of the third, when Coyle jammed home a loose puck rookie Zach Senyshyn found.
But the Bruins lost another offside challenge when video replay determined that Coyle’s skate blade was millimeters ahead of the puck on the zone entry.
The Bruins, playing their third game in four nights, made Montreal sweat with Rask out of the net in the final minute. Nate Thompson blocked a Patrice Bergeron chance, and Bergeron missed with another bid.
Other thoughts and observations:
■ The Bruins fell behind by two goals after one period, and had it tied at 18:13 of the second, but went into the third down a goal. A wild two minutes at the end of the second saw Anders Bjork chip home a loose puck to make it 3-3, but the Bruins give it right back 42 seconds later.
■ Victor Mete’s second goal of the night, with 1:05 left in the second, had Rask angry and the Canadiens celebrating a 4-3 lead. Mete found space with his long drive because Rask was tangled with Thompson. The Bruins seemingly did not challenge for goaltender interference because Chara pushed Thompson into the netminder.
Rask cooled after an official told him that Chara pushed Thompson. He told Cassidy the same. “He’s basically telling me, ‘You’re an idiot if you challenge,’ ” Cassidy said. “It was one of those nights . . . There was a lot of stuff going on at both ends of the end, and none of it really went our way.”
■ It was a tough night for Rask, who entered Tuesday as the league leader in goals-against average (1.49) and save percentage (.949). He allowed four goals on his first 25 shots, his worst performance of an otherwise sparkling season.
“It’s one of those nights you feel like instead of a hockey puck, it’s a golf ball,” Rask said. “Just not tracking it well. Tough night for me. I thought we battled well. Could have easily won the game. But I couldn’t really make a save.”
■ The first goal wasn’t Rask’s fault. Running around in their own zone, the Bruins fell down, 1-0, just 1:13 into the game. Mete cleaned up a bad bounce to the slot, a play that began with a killer cross-zone pass form Max Domi, who didn’t get credit for an assist for all the ping-ponging.
■ Pastrnak tied the score at 14:55 of the first by setting up in his left-circle digs, hammering a Torey Krug feed off a Bergeron faceoff win, and beating Carey Price far side. It took all of five seconds.
■ The Bruins have scored a power-play goal in 11 of 15 games, and had the top PP in the league (30.6 percent entering Tuesday). The assist was Krug’s 300th career point.
■ Krug nearly hit that milestone twice in the opening minutes. The Bruins had a good chance off a Danton Heinen feed to a pinching Krug, the defenseman forcing Price to make a save on a short-range bid. Krug also hit iron several minutes later, after Jake DeBrusk stole the puck at the Habs’ blue line.
■ The Canadiens, however, mashed the pedal through the neutral zone, gaining numerous odd-man rushes against a team that allowed plenty to Pittsburgh the night before (yes, the legs had to be a bit tired, playing a rival on the road in the second of a back-to-back). The Bruins were outshot, 13-6, in the first, and the Habs scored three first-period goals against them for the first time since Dec. 16, 2010.
■ At 16:45, Tomas Tatar sneaked one past Rask, on a quick-developing two-on-one against Charlie McAvoy. Chara was caught out of position in the neutral zone and Brett Ritchie was making an ill-advised line change. Rask allowed another one 31 seconds later, Paul Byron slipping one five-hole off the rush.
■ Down, 3-1, to start the second, the Bruins killed hooking minors to stars Bergeron and Pastrnak before Clifton made it a 3-2 game with an outstanding individual effort. The rookie defenseman, his game quiet of late, stretched high to grab a puck at the blue line. With no play, he made one, stepping up, dangling through traffic, and whipping a wrister over Price at 7:17 of the second.
“I think this was my best game so far,” Clifton said. “With the puck, without the puck, my feet were going and I was making plays.”
Clifton also stepped into Brendan Gallagher in the opening minutes, knocking the Habs sniper off his feet and drawing boos from the home crowd.
■ Ritchie, dogged by poor routes to the puck and that bad change, took a seat in the second period. Coach Bruce Cassidy opted to double-shift Pastrnak. Ritchie’s lack of awareness is noticeable on a team filled with intelligent players.
■ Dangerous (and uncalled) play by Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry, cross-checking the debuting Zach Senyshyn from behind. If Senyshyn was six inches closer to the boards, he’s in trouble. That was one of several chippy moments the officials let go uncalled.
■ The Bruins tied it for the third time at 3:03 of the third with a fourth-line goal. Chris Wagner and Kuraly outworked and out-thought Mete, Jeff Petry, and Joel Armia down low. Kuraly, who only scores important ones, stuffed it home while Price was looking the other way.
Follow Matt Porter on Twitter at @mattyports