MONTREAL -- Coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in their storied history last year, the Montreal Canadiens
have their fans squarely behind them this season, and another big win over the Boston Bruins
, 2-1, Saturday night, had the fans frenzied into a playoff atmosphere at the the Bell Centre. Alex Galchenyuk
and Michael Ryder
scored and P.K. Subban had two assists as Montreal ended the Bruins' three-game winning streak.
Carey Price stopped 26 shots for the Canadiens, who opened up a three-point lead over Boston atop the Northeast Division.
Montreal (25-8-5) has 55 points, three behind Pittsburgh for the Eastern Conference lead.
"It was very loud," said Canadiens center Lars Eller, whose minor penalty with under a minute to play gave the Bruins their only power play of the game. "These games are the most fun to play. Playoff atmosphere and we're getting closer and everybody knows it. It's fun."
The Canadiens finished 15th overall in the East last season, last in the conference and 28th overall in the NHL. Daniel Paille
scored for the Bruins (24-9-4), who have a solid lead for fourth place in the East, with 52 points.
"If you look at all three goals scored, if you ask me or Pricer, it should have been a 0-0 game," said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask
, who made 27 saves.
Eller was sent off for holding Bruins' captain Zdeno Chara with 56.4 seconds left in the third.
With Rask pulled for an extra attacker, Montreal did not allow a shot on the ensuing two-man advantage.
"It's a matter of putting pucks at the net, and we weren't doing it," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I thought we had a couple of chances to shoot and we chose to pass, and you know you've got to be a little hungrier if you want to tie the game. The whole game, that was probably the most disappointing part for me, that we didn't get a shot on net."
Galchenyuk scored for a second straight game when he got credit for his fifth goal 6:49 in.
The 19-year-old rookie, who ended an 18-game goalless drought in Thursday night's win over Winnipeg, caught a break when his shot toward Rask scooted around the crease and Bruins' defenseman Matt Barktkowski knocked the puck over the line behind him with his leg.
"It was my mindset going in," Galchenyuk said. "I wanted to put it in from the defenseman and I missed, then he put it in by himself. It was a lucky goal, but I'll take it."
Ryder got his 10th goal in 12 games when he increased Montreal's lead to 2-0 on a power play 57 seconds into the second.
Ryder tipped Subban's point shot down and the puck struck the shaft of Bruins' defenseman Dennis Seidenberg's stick. It popped up and floated over Rask into the top-left corner and Subban picked up his second assist on Ryder's 16th goal.
The Bruins drew to within one at 7:10 on another odd-bounce goal. Paille won a faceoff in Montreal's zone and drew the puck back. Johnny Boychuk's point shot struck Paille on its way past Price.
Nathan Horton had a shot at drawing Boston even 14:07 into the second but his shot went wide off a centering pass from Milan Lucic.
The Canadiens won the last three gamesagainst the Bruins to claim the four-game season series. All four games were decided by one goal.
"They're a good team," Lucic said. "You've got to give them credit. They played us well and it's just one of those things where once again they managed to find the bounces and play hard and end up winning another season series."
NOTES: Bruins' center Patrice Bergeron missed his second straight game. He is out indefinitely because of a concussion he suffered in Tuesday's 3-2 win over Ottawa. Bergeron leads the NHL with a 61.5 percent success rate on faceoffs. He entered Saturday tied for fourth in the league in plus-minus with a plus-23. ... Center Chris Kelly took part in the Bruins' morning skate, though he remained out of the lineup. Kelly has been recovering from a broken tibia that has sidelined him since March 11. ... Defensemen Wade Redden and Aaron Johnson and forward Jordan Caron did not dress for Boston. ... Alexei Emelin got the worst of his first-period hit on Lucic in front of Boston's bench. The Canadiens' defenseman had to be helped off the ice. He suffered a lower-body injury and did not return. ... Montreal right wing Colby Armstrong missed his third game in a row because of a knee injury. Left wing Rene Bourque and defenseman Raphael Diaz are also both recovering from concussions.
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