Desharnais scores tiebreaker late, Canadiens beat Bruins 4-2
MONTREAL (AP) Being ''demoted'' to the third line has worked out well for David Desharnais.
Montreal's diminutive center scored on a power play with 1:08 left in the game to lift the Canadiens to a comeback 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
The goal gave Desharnais seven points in the last five games and 14 for the season, tying him for second of the team.
Few expected that production after Desharnais was dropped from the top line with Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher to the third unit with Dale Weise and veteran Tomas Fleischmann.
''I don't know what to say, everybody's getting rewarded and I'm one of them,'' Desharnais said. ''No matter what happened this season, I was going to keep a good attitude.
''I'm just trying to have some fun out there.''
It may help that he is not going up against top checking lines and top defensive pairs as much as in the past, and it has also helped that Weise has been strong with eight goals this season.
The entire team has been hot, with a 13-2-1 start.
Pacioretty added an empty-netter 20 seconds after Desharnai's tiebreaking score, and Tomas Plekanec and Lars Eller also scored for league-best Montreal, which has points in five straight games (4-0-1). Rookie goalie Mike Condon had 29 saves to improve to 6-0-1.
Loui Eriksson and Frank Vatrano scored for Boston, which has lost six straight against Montreal. Jonas Gustavsson also had 29 saves.
Bruins veteran David Krejci was off for cross-checking after a needless run-in with Plekanec at the players benches when Desharnais scored on Alex Galchenyuk's rebound.
''The guys did a good job playing hard and then you do something stupid and you let everyone down,'' Krejci said. ''It's not a very good feeling.
''It was a stupid penalty and now I have to live with that.''
Montreal defenseman Nathan Beaulieu got a match penalty and game misconduct with 17 seconds left for a cross-check on Boston's Zac Rinaldo. Rinaldo was skating in for a bodycheck when Beaulieu lifted his stick and appeared to get him in the neck or the head.
A match penalty calls for a one-game suspension, but the NHL can reverse the call. That's what Montreal coach Michel Therrien wants.
''We know the type of player Rinaldo is,'' Therrien said. ''From the bench, it looked like (Beaulieu) was trying to protect himself.
''When you see a guy coming with less than 30 seconds left your first instinct is to protect yourself, so I don't expect any suspension.''
The Bruins came in with the NHL's best power play, scoring on 35 percent of their chances, and capitalized on their first opportunity when Eriksson tipped in Patrice Bergeron's pass at the side of the net only 1:50 into the game. It was the first goal allowed at home by Montreal's penalty killers in 24 attempts this season.
Montreal tied it with the man advantage 1:09 into the second when Plekanec was left alone in front to pick the top corner on Gustavsson.
Vatrano, who led the AHL with 10 goals in 10 games for Providence, saw a shot from the high slot go through a screen in front of the net and past Condon at 8:51 for his first NHL goal.
The Canadiens had a goal by Plekanec disallowed for goalie interference but then got the tying score 8:58 into the third when Eller poked Galchenyuk's rebound between Gustavsson's pads.