Hackett stopped 28 shots in his first game against his former team and Brian Rolston, Joe Thornton and defenseman Nick Boynton each collected three points as the Boston Bruins handed the Canadiens their third straight loss, 6-3.
Hackett won for the third time in four starts since the Bruins acquired him from San Jose as part of a three-team trade involving Montreal. At the time, Canadiens general manager Andre Savard said, “I wish him luck, but not against us.”
“I think it was good to see one another,” Hackett said. “It felt like old times, getting together to go out to dinner. It was just I went to a different hotel.”
Hackett did not need much luck against a Montreal team that yielded 41 shots and never caught up after allowing three straight goals bridging the first two periods.
“It was definitely a long day,” Hackett said. “We both gave up goals we normally would not give up. I think it was because of the long day.”
Boston had a 4-2 lead 7 1/2 minutes into the third period when Hackett charged out to the slot. But he flubbed a clearing attempt and Joe Juneau scored into a half-empty net to end a 31-game drought.
“One of my booming shots again,” Hackett joked. “The jumped off my stick. It was just a mistake.”
Rolston set up all three goals as P.J. Axelsson lifted Boston into a 1-1 tie with 11:25 to go in the first and Martin Lapointe got the go-ahead tally - his first in 28 games - just under 10 minutes later. Glen Murray made it 3-1 with a power-play goal 6:08 into the second.
“After they got their first goal, we kind of go into a lull. But we didn’t tonight,” Rolston said. “We continued to go at them and Axe gets the goal. And we climb out of it and Marty gets the next goal.”
Thornton picked up an assist on Murray’s 28th goal, got another on Boynton’s tally 3:11 into the third period and sealed the win by scoring into an empty net with 48 seconds to play.
“I think we played all right tonight,” Bruins coach Robbie Ftorek said. “We got some nice goals. … (Hackett) made a lot of great saves that don’t look spectacular.”
Hackett was tested early after Murray took a double-minor for igh-sticking just 10 seconds into the game.
“At the time I was not too happy with it, but looking back at the big picture, it was good to make a couple of big plays and get a feel for the game,” Hackett said.
Mariusz Czerkawski gave Montreal a 1-0 lead just over six minutes into the game when he wedged a backhander into the bracing at the back of the net.
But Axelsson tied it 2 1/2 minutes later on a wraparound and Lapointe backhanded a rebound for his first goal since October 14.
“We got two points, this is the main thing,” Lapointe said. “We just said to ourselves that we need a good game.”
Murray got his 28th goal during a two-man advantage, but Czerkawski got his second of the game just over three minutes later to get the Canadiens within 3-2.
Boynton got the back-breaker, beating Jose Theodore from a stride outside the blue line.
“It was just a knuckleball,” said Theodore, who stopped 34 shots. “The puck was standing up and it just kinda dropped.”
Juneau again made it a one-goal game, but Kris Vernarsky registered his first NHL goal to make it 5-3 with 4:03 to play.
“Even though I did not smile, I was the happiest guy alive,” Vernarsky said. “My whole body just had chills all over it.”