MONTREAL -- With a win tonight at the Bell Centre, the Bruins could have tied Montreal with 38 points, good for a tie for the Northeast Division lead.
But the Bruins didn't show up in the first period, chased the Canadiens the rest of the night, and dropped a 4-3 decision. Milan Lucic scored the only goal of the third.
Down 3-1 after 20 minutes, the Bruins made it a one-goal game when Marc Savard tipped a puck over Carey Price at 6:54 of the second. It was Savard's first goal of the year.
But the Canadiens regained their two-goal advantage when Brian Gionta deflected a shot past Tim Thomas at 16:54 of the second.
David Krejci recorded his first NHL fight when he threw down with Michael Cammalleri at 11:31 of the second. After some wrestling, Cammalleri landed some shots as Krejci lost his footing.
The Canadiens threatened to run the Bruins out of the rink in the first period. In the first minute, a Lucic giveaway led to Cammalleri slipping behind the Boston defense for a chance on Thomas. Zdeno Chara and Steven Kampfer were forced to whack away at Cammalleri, who was given a penalty shot. Cammalleri approached slowly, then deked Thomas into Nova Scotia. With Thomas out of position, Cammalleri tucked the puck into the net at 1:04 to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead.
Montreal doubled its lead when Maxim Lapierre beat Thomas with a sharp-angle shot at 6:24.
The Bruins got a gift goal at 15:52. From almost behind the goal line, Blake Wheeler put a shot on net that Price failed to stop. Wheeler had been scoreless in his last five games.
But the Canadiens got the goal back later in the first. One second after the Bruins killed off a Gregory Campbell roughing call, Max Pacioretty's backhand swipe deflected off Andrew Ference and slipped behind Thomas at 19:30.
Montreal rookie P.K. Subban laid a licking on Brad Marchand late in the first. As Marchand carried the puck into the offensive zone with speed, Subban launched himself at the forward and leveled him with a clean hit. Marchand returned to the bench while grimacing. Campbell and Shawn Thornton approached Subban, but the defenseman didn't oblige.
18:58 3d period: Canadiens 4-3
Zdeno Chara in front during the six-on-five. Not sure why he can't be there on normal PP.
18:22 3d period: Canadiens 4-3
15:10 3d period: Canadiens 4-3
Patrice Bergeron launches a one-timer from the point that Milan Lucic tips past Carey Price.
4:27 3d period: Canadiens 4-2
Tim Thomas turns aside Tomas Plekanec's breakaway.
20:00 2d period: Canadiens 4-2
Slightly better effort in the second. Hard to see Carey Price letting in three in the third.
16:54 2d period: Canadiens 4-2
Brian Gionta gets a piece of the puck and tips it past Tim Thomas. The Seidenberg-Ference pairing struggling.
14:48 2d period: Canadiens 3-2
Tyler Seguin gets a shift between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. The latter has been absent all night.
11:31 2d period: Canadiens 3-2
David Krejci vs. Mike Cammalleri. Krejci didn't like a missed check by Cammalleri, which led to the scrap. Both wrestle and Cammalleri lands some shots on the way down. First NHL fight for Krejci.
8:36 2d period: Canadiens 3-2
Finally some sustained heat on Carey Price. Good work by Patrice Bergeron's line down low.
6:54 2d period: Canadiens 3-2
Marc Savard tips an Andrew Ference shot over Carey Price. Good shift for Savard, who nearly set up Tyler Seguin earlier.
5:45 2d period: Canadiens 3-1
Tim Thomas turns aside Mike Cammalleri in the slot. Habs should have five by now. Still no line changes by Claude Julien.
0:10 2d period: Canadiens 3-1
Kick saves by Tim Thomas on Jeff Halpern and Travis Moen off the opening draw. Looks like more of the same.
0:00 2d period: Canadiens 3-1
Brad Marchand is on the bench to start the second.
20:00 1st period: Canadiens 3-1
Bruins getting beat and beaten up. As flat a first as they've played all year.
19:30 1st period: Canadiens 3-1
At end of PP, Max Pacioretty backhands a shot on goal that bounces off Andrew Ference and beats Tim Thomas.
17:29 1st period: Canadiens 2-1
P.K. Subban cleans Brad Marchand's clock with a clean open-ice hit. Marchand not looking all there on the bench. Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton seek retribution, but Subban doesn't oblige. Roughing on Campbell.
15:52 1st period: Canadiens 2-1
Bunny goal for Blake Wheeler. From a horrible angle, Wheeler sneaks a shot through Carey Price.
15:24 1st period: Canadiens 2-0
Bruins being outshot 14-5. Nobody willing to bring any emotion to game.
13:57 1st period: Canadiens 2-0
Goalmouth chance for Brian Gionta after end-to-end Scott Gomez rush. As usual, Bruins looking sloooooowww.
8:09 1st period: Canadiens 2-0
Golden chance for Brian Gionta. Tim Thomas looking very twitchy so far.
6:24 1st period: Canadiens 2-0
Maxim Lapierre scores on the rebound. Claude Julien should call his timeout now.
3:18 1st period: Canadiens 1-0
Bruins not ready for prime time so far. Extended cycle by the Canadiens.
1:04 1st period: Canadiens 1-0
Mike Cammalleri dekes Tim Thomas into Nova Scotia and scores on the forehand. Slick stuff by the sniper.
1:04 1st period: 0-0
Penalty shot for Mike Cammalleri after rotten Milan Lucic turnover.
0:37 1st period: 0-0
Shawn Thornton quick to shed the mitts. Maxim Lapierre is not. Would have been the shocker of the season had Lapierre engaged Thornton.
0:00 1st period: 0-0
Daniel Paille is the healthy scratch. Tyler Seguin is back in. Blake Wheeler (0-0--0 in last five outings) lives to see another game.