Canadiens extend dominance over rival Bruins with 4-2 victory

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

BOSTON - Chris Higgins had a lot easier time scoring than trying to come up with an explanation for Montreal's winning streak against Boston.

Higgins had a goal and two assists to help the Canadiens beat the Bruins for the seventh straight time, 4-2 on Thursday night. "I can't explain it," Higgins said. "I don't know why we do so well against them. It was huge, we needed to get back on the winning side. We were down a little bit...the city and the fans were a little down on us."

Montreal, which also snapped a three-game losing streak, has outscored the Bruins 28-11 during the seven-game winning streak.

"Maybe we should play more games against them," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. "We still have four more games against them and I'm sure they'll be ready."

Higgins, Kyle Chipchura and Tomas Plekanec scored goals on the first six shots of the game against goalie prospect Tuukka Rask, forced into the starting role with Tim Thomas sidelined by an apparent groin injury.

"It's hard to bounce back from 3-0 down," Rask said. "We weren't ready enough to play this game, but you can't hide behind it being the third game in four nights."

Mathieu Dandenault added a third-period goal for Montreal, and rookie Carey Price made 24 saves to improve to 7-4-1.

Phil Kessel and P.J. Axelsson scored for Boston, coming off a six-game road trip that ended Wednesday night with an overtime loss in New Jersey.

"You can't complain about the schedule," Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. "We are a better team than that but we have to put this behind us because we have another tough road trip ahead."

Kessel and Axelsson connected in the second period as Boston battled back while outshooting Montreal 13-3. Kessel scored at 6:10 after Dennis Wideman's slap shot deflected off Kessel's leg. Axelsson cut Montreal's lead to 3-2, tapping Marc Savard's cross-crease pass past Price 2:31 later.

"I think we played a pretty good game but we might have let it slide a little in the second," Price said.

Higgins opened the scoring off rebound 3:03 into the game. It was his fourth goal in the last four games and snapped Montreal's 0-for-15 drought on the power play.

Notes: Boston's Marc Savard extended his career-high scoring streak to 12 games. ... Montreal forwards Steve Begin and Bryan Smolinski left the game with injuries. ... Boston acquired goalie Alex Auld from Phoenix on Thursday in exchange for a minor league player and a draft pick. Auld replaces Thomas, hurt Wednesday night in New Jersey. ... Plekanec leads Montreal with six points this season against Boston. ... Montreal's Ryan O'Byrne had two assists in his first NHL game.

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