Montreal dominates Boston in 4-2 win

BOSTON (AP) The Montreal Canadiens were in the lead just 85 seconds in and in command for nearly all 60 minutes.

Lars Eller scored twice and Alex Galchenyuk had three assists as the Canadiens beat the Boston Bruins 4-2 on Saturday night.

Alexander Semin added two assists and David Desharnais had a goal for Montreal, which scored the first three goals of the game and stifled the scarce attempts by the Bruins to rally.

''We were pretty effective when we had our chances and we could've even had a few more,'' Eller said.

They certainly could have. Montreal outshot Boston 38-21 while beating the rival Bruins for the sixth straight time - a streak that dates to the end of the 2013-14 season.

Carey Price finished with 19 saves for the Canadiens and Tomas Plekanec picked up his 500th career point with an empty-net goal in the final minute.

Boston's frustration built throughout the game and showed with nine penalties before it was over. Both teams lost a player to a game misconduct during one of the many scrums between the historic rivals.

''I liked the way we stuck up for each other,'' Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. ''Nothing new about the rivalry between the Habs and the Bruins, so we were ready for that.''

Tuukka Rask kept the Bruins from getting routed with 34 saves. Matt Beleskey's goal late in the second period was the only offense for Boston until Patrice Bergeron scored with 31 seconds to play.

''We were giving them too much room and teams like that are going to make you pay,'' Bergeron said. ''Any chance they get they're going to find a way to create something out of it, so we really have to bear down in our zone more.''

The Bruins are off to their first 0-2 start in 10 years. Boston played again without captain Zdeno Chara, who sat with an undisclosed upper-body injury. The Bruins clearly missed their supersized defenseman, especially against Montreal's top line of Eller, Semin and Galchenyuk.

Desharnais scored a power-play goal 1:25 into the game and Montreal scored again when Eller connected on a one-timer 2:15 into the second.

The Bruins felt they pulled within 2-1 with 13:20 left in the second when Loui Eriksson beat Price on a high backhand with 13:20 left in the second, but the goal was immediately waved off by one of the referees, who said Bergeron made contact with the Montreal goalie at the edge of the crease.

Boston coach Claude Julien challenged, but the call stood after a video review and disgruntled Bruins fans let loose with a loud chorus of boos. The Canadiens quickly quieted the crowd 1:07 later when Eller scored on another one-timer to put Montreal up 3-0.

''That goal gets disallowed and then the next shift you get scored on again. It definitely hurts but, again, it's from our own doing,'' Bergeron said. ''We have to realize that and don't put the blame on the refs.''

Beleskey cut the lead to 3-1 with 5:34 left in the second on a shot that deflected off a defender and bounced between Price's pads.

Notes: Boston has allowed three straight goals three times already this season. ... Although the two clubs play four more times this season, Saturday was the only meeting in Boston. The Bruins host the Canadiens again Jan. 1 in the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. ... Boston C Ryan Spooner received a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on Semin 3:30 into the third period.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.