MONTREAL (AP) — Canadiens coach Claude Julien’s first few run-ins with his old team haven’t gone well.
David Pastrnak scored twice and set up another goal to help the Boston Bruins beat Montreal 4-1 on Saturday night, their third win in eight days against their former coach.
These were the first three meetings between the Canadiens and Bruins since Boston fired Julien last February. Montreal scooped up the former boss of their longtime rival, but it didn’t give him enough in his first showdowns against former players. Boston won last Saturday in a shootout in Montreal, then beat the Canadiens 4-1 at home Wednesday.
It was a combination Julien first put together seven years ago — Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, along with more recent linemate Pastrnak — that did most of the damage.
“If I’d known I’d have to face them like I do now I would have kept them separated all those years,” Julien joked.
Torey Krug had a goal and two assists and Riley Nash added an empty-netter for Boston, which is 12-0-4 in its past 16 games.
“Because of the rivalry and it’s Montreal, it always means a little more over the years for fans in the New England area, but for us, we talked about trying to catch the teams in front of us and then eliminating opportunities for teams that are chasing you,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We did some of that this week with Montreal, being a division rival, so that part of it is good.”
Max Pacioretty scored for Montreal, which ended a stretch of five games in eight days since their midseason break at 1-2-2. The Canadiens were coming off a 3-1 win Friday night in Washington.
“We didn’t play a bad game but they were better than us,” he said. “Our faceoffs and our puck battles. We need to be more determined.”
Pacioretty got his seventh goal in seven games 11:29 into the second period. Paul Byron lost the puck, stripped it back from Charlie McAvoy from behind and then slipped a backhand pass to Pacioretty on a 2-on-1.
Pastrnak beat goalie Carey Price with a quick shot along the ice that caught the goaltender’s left skate and went in at 14:09.
Krug was allowed to walk in from the blue line, take a feed from Pastrnak and beat Price over the right shoulder at 15:56.
The Bruins looked to have another goal on a power play at 11:00 of the third period, but a video review showed the play was offside.
Pastrnak got one that counted, his 20th of the season, at 17:03 when Jordie Benn couldn’t handle a puck in front of Price and the Czech forward swept in to put it in the net.
“David’s a dynamic player,” said Cassidy. “I like that he went to the net more tonight and shot.
“When his goal-scoring goes away for a while I think he gets too cute at times or a little bit one on one moves. We’ve addressed it. He’s trying to mature as a player as well. But tonight he threw pucks at the net and got to the net. That was a huge goal, the insurance goal late. That’s a backbreaker. But that’s a very, very good line. We get to see it every night and boy they came through for us.”
NOTES: A moment of silence was held before the game for sports writer Red Fisher, who covered the Canadiens from 1955 to 2012. Fisher died Friday at 91.
Bruins: Host New Jersey on Tuesday night.
Canadiens: Host Colorado on Tuesday night.