MONTREAL (AP) — Jaroslav Halak stopped 22 shots for his third shutout of the season as the Boston Bruins beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 on Monday night.
Joakim Nordstrom, Colby Cave, David Krejci and Brad Marchand scored for the Bruins, who snapped a two-game skid. Boston was on the second game of a back-to-back after losing 4-2 in Buffalo on Sunday.
Halak improved to 5-0-0 when facing former teammate Carey Price, and helped the Bruins leapfrog the Canadiens for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Price, vying for his 300th career victory, finished with 31 saves as the Canadiens lost for just the second time in seven games.
Montreal was shut out for just the second time this season, and first time since Oct. 11 against Los Angeles.
The Canadiens looked sloppy in the first period, turning the puck over 11 times over the first seven minutes.
The Bruins responded with their first goal at 2:21 after Michael Chaput’s turnover in his own zone. What followed was a give-and-go between Cave, David Backes and Nordstrom, who beat Price from the slot for his fifth.
Boston made it 2-0 late in the second period when Cave scored his first NHL goal with 26 seconds left. The 23-year-old, playing his 16th career game, was left alone in the slot with the teams playing 4-on-4.
The Bruins picked up right where they left off in the third, scoring 46 seconds in. A defensive collapse by the Canadiens gave Krejci time and space at the side of the net for his sixth.
The Bruins added to their lead when Marchand scored Boston’s fourth, on the power play, at 5:06. David Pastrnak made a clever pass on the goal, his second assist of the game.
The Canadiens failed to capitalize on three power plays, extending their slump to 0 for 25 over nine games dating back to Dec. 1.
NOTES: Montreal D Jordie Benn was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. … It was the third of four meetings between the Canadiens and Bruins this season. … Krejci extended his point streak to seven games.
Bruins: Host Anaheim on Thursday night to open a two-game homestand.
Canadiens: At Colorado on Wednesday night to open a stretch of six straight road games to close the month.