MONTREAL -- Down 3-1 in last night's third period at the Bell Centre, the Bruins started a rally at 11:46 when Milan Lucic beat Jaroslav Halak with a wrist shot, making it a 3-2 game.
But the Bruins didn't have enough gas to tie the game, as the Canadiens claimed a 3-2 win to extend their lead in the East to four points. Halak made a game-changing save on Marco Sturm to keep his team's one-goal lead intact.
Sergei Kostitsyn scored the game-winning goal in the third after Tuukka Rask failed to play a puck off the end boards.
The Bruins, down 2-0 after the first period, cut Montreal's lead in half in the second. As Michael Ryder carried the puck down the left wing, Blake Wheeler charged to the far post in hopes of a dish. Ryder obliged, sending a backhand pass that Wheeler tipped past Halak at 1:12 of the second, making it a 2-1 game.
But the Bruins didn't get much pressure otherwise on Halak in the second. The best scoring chance of the second came when Tomas Plekanec, after a Chara turnover, snapped a rising wrist shot on goal that Rask snatched with a quick glove at 17:01.
There were some fireworks after Andrei Kostitsyn dropped an unsuspecting Lucic with a shoulder to the chest at 17:24. Kostitsyn was nabbed for interference. But Lucic wiped out the power play by going after Kostitsyn. Lucic was sent off for roughing.
Montreal opened the scoring at 6:02 of the first period on a power-play goal. With Mark Stuart serving a holding penalty, the Canadiens took a 1-0 lead after Andrei Markov's wrist shot from the point skimmed off Dennis Seidenberg and floated past Rask.
The Bruins could have tied the score after Jaroslav Spacek was nabbed for tripping Wheeler at 17:03 of the first. But the Canadiens had the best scoring chance of the Boston power play after Plekanec picked off a Dennis Wideman pass and took off for a breakaway. Rask stuffed Plekanec's bad-angle shot, but the Canadiens kept the pressure going and doubled their lead on the following shift.
After gaining control of the puck, Markov wheeled into the offensive zone and started a wraparound behind Rask. But before Markov completed the wraparound, the defenseman threw a pass across his body to Sergei Kostitsyn in front. With Rask already shifting from right to left to stop Markov, Kostitsyn saw a wide-open net and slammed the puck home at 19:20.
All done in Montreal. Canadiens, 3-2. Not really a one-goal game.
15:35 3d period: Canadiens 3-2
Game-changing save by Jaroslav Halak on Marco Sturm after a Mark Recchi dish.
11:46 3d period: Canadiens 3-2
With Brad Marchand setting a screen in front, Milan Lucic wrists a shot past Jaroslav Halak.
5:10 3d period: Canadiens 3-1
Scuffle between Marco Sturm and Andrei Markov behind the Montreal net. Takes a little while for Sturm's teammates to arrive.
4:56 3d period: Canadiens 3-1
Chance for Mathieu Darche after Matt Hunwick turnover. Save by Tuukka Rask.
1:41 3d period: Canadiens 3-1
Gift goal for Sergei Kostitysn. Tuukka Rask misplays puck off end boards and leaves net wide open.
20:00 2d period: Canadiens 2-1
Not much uptick in the Bruins' game in the second, but only down by one goal heading into the third.
19:15 2d period: Canadiens 2-1
Interference on Josh Gorges.
17:24 2d period: Canadiens 2-1
Andrei Kostitsyn drops an unsuspecting Milan Lucic with a shoulder to the chest. Interference on Kostitsyn, roughing on Lucic.
17:01 2d period: Canadiens 2-1
Glove save by Tuukka Rask on Tomas Plekanec after a Zdeno Chara turnover. Chara doesn't look right tonight.
9:32 2d period: Canadiens 2-1
Interference on Mark Stuart.
3:40 2d period: Canadiens 2-1
Elbowing on Marco Sturm.
1:12 2d period: Canadiens 2-1
Blake Wheeler crashes the net and taps in Michael Ryder's backhand feed.
20:00 1st period: Canadiens 2-0
Hardly any first-period pressure on Jaroslav Halak by the Bruins.
19:20 1st period: Canadiens 2-0
Sergei Kostitsyn with the close-range goal. Andrei Markov went for the wraparound, but threw an across-the-grain pass to Kostitsyn.
19:00 1st period: Canadiens 1-0
Tuukka Rask turns aside Tomas Plekanec's breakaway.
17:03 1st period: Canadiens 1-0
Blake Wheeler tripped up by Jaroslav Spacek.
7:48 1st period: Canadiens 1-0
Icing on Montreal. Canadiens winning all the puck battles.
6:02 1st period: Canadiens 1-0
Andrei Markov's point wrister skims off Dennis Seidenberg and beats Tuukka Rask.
5:02 1st period: 0-0
Mark Stuart off for holding.
2:46 1st period: 0-0
Roman Hamrlik off for high-sticking Vladimir Sobotka. Some post-whistle chatter involving Maxim Lapierre, Milan Lucic, and Brad Marchand.
0:25 1st period: 0-0
Benoit Pouliot hums a slapper off the right post. Bad turnover by Zdeno Chara trying to go cross-ice.
0:00 1st period: 0-0
Miroslav Satan is out. Brad Marchand is in.