MONTREAL (AP) — Canadiens coach Michel Therrien was happy with the way his team bounced back from a tough loss in its last game.
Brendan Gallagher and P.A. Parenteau each had two goals to lead Montreal in a 6-4 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. Max Pacioretty had a goal and two assists, and Jiri Sekac got his first NHL goal.
The Canadiens were coming off a 7-1 loss at Tampa Bay on Monday night.
“I’m very satisfied,” Therrien said after Montreal won its home opener. “Our forecheck was good, our power play was much better. That was good to see after a bad loss.”
Zdeno Chara, Carl Soderberg, Loui Eriksson and Simon Gagne scored for Boston, which led 3-2 before fading late in the second period.
The pre-game buildup was all about last spring, when the Canadiens upset Boston in seven games in the second round of the playoffs. In the handshake line after Game 7, the Bruins’ Milan Lucic reportedly threatened to “kill” Montreal’s Dale Weise and Alexei Emelin.
Weise was a healthy scratch in this game, but the Lucic vs. Emelin animosity was evident throughout the game. Emelin knocked down Lucic with an open-ice check early in the game. Late in the third, with Boston pushing to tie the game, Lucic crushed Emelin and was given a two-minute boarding penalty.
After Parenteau scored into an empty net to seal the win, Lucic was handed a misconduct for mouthing off to the officials, then flexed his muscles in the penalty box. There were reports he also made a rude gesture to the crowd.
Lucic did not speak to reporters after the game.
Other than that, it was a peaceful game with plenty of end-to-end action.
“That’s what I expected,” Gallagher said. “When two points are on the line against a division rival, you can’t take undisciplined penalties because they’ll come back to bite you.
“It was physical and heated at times, but both teams understood the importance of the two points.”
Boston coach Claude Julien said sloppy play was to blame for his team’s loss.
“We lost our focus,” he said. “We made some real bad mistakes that ended up in the back of the net.
“I’m disappointed in some of the decisions that we made that cost us some goals. We have to fix that. But as long as the effort is there, you have an opportunity, you have a chance. It was just one of those games with a lot of bouncing pucks. It’s a team thing right now. As a team, we made too many mistakes.”
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, 3-11-3 in his career against Montreal, allowed five goals on 23 shots before leaving at 7:17 of the third. He was replaced by Niklas Svedberg.
A Canadiens fan used a laser pointer to try and distract the Bruins, but it had little effect. Videos clearly showed a green dot dancing in and around Rask, but he was quick to dismiss it after the game.
“At me? No,” Rask said, though he noticed it being directed elsewhere.
“I saw it in the second, but it was in the offensive zone,” he said. “Good thing I didn’t go blind or anything.”
It was a big night for Sekac, the 22-year-old winger who signed as a free agent. He got his first career goal with his parents and his girlfriend from the Czech Republic in attendance.
“It’s hard to describe my feelings,” Sekac said. “I can’t stop smiling.”
Boston led 7-1 in shots when Chara, posted in front of Carey Price on a power play, had David Krejci’s shot go in off his leg at 9:03 of the first period.
Montreal responded with its first power-play goal in 15 tries this season when David Desharnais went hard to the net and saw the puck go off Adam McQuaid’s skate, then off Pacioretty’s skate and in at 11:33.
After Gallagher put Montreal ahead at 7:43 of the second, the Bruins took over for an eight-minute stretch as Soderberg got the puck amid a crowd of Montreal defenders and scored at 8:34 and Eriksson tipped in a Torey Krug pass at 11:31.
But in the final two minutes of the period, the Canadiens struck twice as Sekac jumped on a deflected puck and scored into an open side at 18:11 and Parenteau scored from the slot at 19:36.
“Those two goals were huge,” Gallagher said. “When Jiri scored, everyone got excited. It was his first NHL goal, and P.A.’s first as a Hab. It was fun to share that excitement with them.”
Pacioretty deflected Emelin’s pass in off Gallagher’s leg 7:17 into the third, but Boston got it back at 14:11 as Lucic went around Emelin and saw his shot fall behind Price, and Gagne slide in to score with his skate.
The Bruins looked ready to push for the tie, but Lucic’s penalty killed the momentum and Parenteau added an empty-net power-play goal.
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