David Pastrnak spread his arms out to the side, fingers dancing, asking the crowd for more, more, more. David Backes stood with his arms raised high, basking in TD Garden cheers he hadn’t heard in weeks. Jake DeBrusk, on his back, shouted and pumped his fists.
Three goal scorers, three goal celebrations, one wild, third-period comeback win against the Canadiens.
After two periods of taking knocks from the hated Habs, the Bruins scored three times in the third to take a 3-1 win, their seventh straight victory and the eighth loss in a row for Montreal.
Each goal was cathartic in its own way.
Pastrnak, roughed up all night and at the center of a second-period dustup that electrified the Garden, erased Montreal’s 1-0 lead at 6:16 of the third. He took an Anders Bjork feed, charged into the Montreal zone and blasted a rocket off the far post and in. It was a goal the likes of Guy Lafleur and Cam Neely used to score, rarely seen these days: from the top of the circle, on the rush, overpowering the goalie.
The stunning season continues for Pastrnak, who has an NHL-best 25 goals on Dec. 1.
The Bruins’ feel-good story continues here: Backes, who missed nearly a month after a scary collision with Ottawa’s Scott Sabourin, made it 2-0 by crushing a one-timer from the bumper, his first goal of the season. Backes also had a breakaway late in the third, chipping the puck wide.
DeBrusk, involved in the fracas in the second, scored off a sweet feed from Charlie Coyle to make it 3-1.
Tuukka Rask, who held the Bruins in it all night — including a breakaway stop on pest Brendan Gallagher, minutes before Pastrnak’s rocket, made 28 stops on 29 shots.
Other observations from the game:
■ The Canadiens, desperately in search of their first win since Nov. 15 (0-4-3 since) and hunting for revenge against the team that handed them an 8-1 loss at home last week, held a 1-0 lead through two periods.
■ The No. 1 power play in the league (31.6 percent) couldn’t cash in late in the second, after a dustup put the Bruins on the man-advantage and sent an unsettled TD Garden into a full-throated roar.
■ Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher — whose game can best be described as “off-brand Brad Marchand,” shoved David Pastrnak before a faceoff. The two kept jawing at each other. Pastrnak drew a penalty on Weber, gives him a shove, and Weber’s crosscheck on Pastrnak started a fracas that saw Jake DeBrusk wrestle Gallagher to the ice.
■ On the power play at 2:47 of the second, the Bruins landed two shots. The most impactful play may have come from Joel Armia, who, after landing a shorthanded shot on Tuukka Rask, blindsided Pastrnak behind the play. He knocked off Pastrnak’s helmet. No call.
■ The Canadiens went up, 1-0, on an Armia goal 1:58 into the affair. Armia, on a hot streak, got a lucky bounce after working Zdeno Chara into a turnover behind the net. He intercepted Chara’s soft pass and banked one in off Charlie McAvoy’s skate. It was Armia’s third goal in as many games.
■ McAvoy, who also had a turnover on his first shift that led to a Montreal chance, clipped Charles Hudon on a 1-on-1 rush into the Boston zone. The Habs nearly went up two goals on that power play, when net-front man Gallagher tipped a point shot, but the puck skittered wide of the post. Rask, who stopped 18 of 19 shots through 40 minutes, closed his pads on a strong Armia bid from the slot.
■ Montreal netminder Carey Price had allowed five goals or more in four of his last five starts (.849 save percentage). He stopped 20 Black and Gold shots through two periods, not including a Matt Grzelcyk rebound try that slid along the goal line after the blue liner’s speedy rush into the zone.
■ The trend of slow starts continued. The Bruins, starting recent games against the Senators and Rangers at a marathon pace before sprinting to the finish, saw their own game in need of a refresh. “It’s kind of slipping away from us a little bit,” DeBrusk said pregame.
■ Until the end-of-period shenanigans, the Bruins, in the middle of a stretch of 11 games in 18 days, looked like their energy reserves were far less than full.
■ Montreal set a physical tone early, landing eight hits in the opening 7:07. None were bigger than ex-Bruin Nate Thompson’s shoulder-to-chest pop on Joakim Nordstrom, who spun himself right into it as he corralled the puck low in the Habs’ zone. Chara got payback later in the first, by table-topping Thompson on the Bruins’ bench.
■ The Bruins finally sustained some pressure with a strong shift from the newly configured Bjork-Kuraly-Wagner line, five minutes into the second.
■ The Canadiens got away with a couple of holds of the stick. Chicken wings were on sale at TD Garden. The Bruins didn’t get many calls. On one sequence in the second period, David Pastrnak took a shot up high from Jeff Petry and was tripped by Tatar. Arms down. The Armia blindside hit was more egregious.
■ But overall, the Bruins didn’t do much to rattle the Habs. The zippy visitors were content to keep racing out of their zone, hunting for a two-goal lead.
■ The first time the Bruins were shut out last year: Montreal’s first visit to Boston, in late October. They have yet to be shut out this season.