BOSTON (AP)—The Boston Bruins didn’t let an unusual start ruin a good week.
The Bruins trailed 1-0 on a penalty-shot goal by Montreal’s Jason Ward just 26 seconds into the game.
The Bruins picked up six points this week, and moved one point ahead of Philadelphia for second place in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers lost to the New York Rangers earlier Saturday.
“It was a big test,” Boston goaltender Andrew Raycroft said. “We knew it would be a big week for us.”
Boston beat Tampa Bay and Ottawa before losing to Toronto on Thursday.
“I thought it was a real good week,” Boston coach Mike Sullivan said. “It was a week where it was a sure measuring stick.”
Boston played its NHL-record 29th overtime game.
Raycroft found himself in a tough situation early into the game when Ward was given a penalty shot by referee Kerry Fraser.
“I was surprised,” Sullivan said.
Ward, hooked by defenseman Sean O’Donnell on the game’s opening shift, switched to his backhand and tucked a shot under Raycroft’s right pad during the penalty shot.
“We knew we had the whole game in front of us,” Samsonov said. “It didn’t really mean that much. It’s not like we were sitting in the locker room down 1-0 after having outplayed them in the first period.”
Despite the loss, the Canadiens clinched a playoff spot and moved one point behind New Jersey for sixth place in the East.
“We’re happy to be mathematically in the playoffs,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said. “It’s something that was our main goal this year.”
The Bruins tied it when Samsonov scored off a rebound in front 1:41 into the third period.
Ward became just the second Canadiens player to score a penalty-shot goal against the Bruins in Boston when he gave Montreal a 1-0 lead.
“I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to score goals this year,” Ward said of his fourth of the season. “It’s something that happens. It’s not something you expect.”
It was the second penalty-shot goal allowed by the Bruins this season, matching the most in franshise history.
Boston cut it to 2-1 on Sergei Gonchar’s power-play goal 11:39 into the second period.
“Looking at it, I thought it was pretty clean,” Thornton said. “Originally, I thought it was just going to be a charge.”
It was the first penalty-shot goal by the Canadiens since Martin Rucinsky scored against Tampa Bay on March 29, 2001. … Ken Reardon was the only other Canadiens player to score a penalty-shot goal in Boston, on Jan. 12, 1949. “That’s an honor in itself to be anywhere near that name,” Ward said. … Robert Rousseau was the last Canadiens player to score a penalty-shot goalagainst the Bruins, doing it on Feb. 15, 1962.