MONTREAL (AP) David Pastrnak doesn’t care about a margin of victory. It’s getting the win that counts.
Pastrnak recorded his second hat trick of the season and the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins routed the Montreal Canadiens 8-1 Tuesday night.
Jake Debrusk, Brad Marchand, Anders Bjork, Charlie Coyle and Danon Heinen also scored for the Bruins (16-3-5), who have won four straight.
Marchand, Coyle, David Krejci and Torey Krug had two assists apiece, while Sean Kuraly had three.
“It’s good that a lot of guys got on the score sheet,” said Pastrnak, who has 23 goals in 24 games this year. “Two points is two points, no matter how you get there. Whether you win 1-0 or 8-1, it doesn’t matter for tomorrow. But we can enjoy it tonight and get some confidence and wash it off tomorrow.”
Captain Shea Weber scored the only goal for the Canadiens (11-8-5), who have lost five straight.
“You have two choices right now,” Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher said. “You can continue to fight and battle as a group, or you can choose to shy away from little bits of adversity. That’s the opportunity that we have right now - choose to fight and work our way out of this.
“It’s not fun, but it’s something that can be pretty rewarding if you’re able to do it. If you’re not, it’s frustrating and it continues to grow and grow.”
Bruins backup Jaroslav Halak made 36 saves and improved to 6-0-0 against Carey Price, his former teammate in Montreal.
Price gave up five goals on 11 shots before being pulled in the second period. Keith Kinkaid stopped 10 of 13 shots in relief.
“There’s always a way to turn things around” Price said. “Every team goes through tough scenarios throughout a long season and right now we’re in one of those funks.
“We can’t dwell on it for too long. I’ve been in this game long enough to know you can’t pout your way out of a situation like this one.”
Boston extended its points streak to eight games (5-0-3) and moved ahead of Washington atop the conference standings.
Claude Julien made no changes to a Canadiens team that blew a four-goal lead and lost 6-5 to the New York Rangers on Saturday.
Price gave up six goals on 34 shots to the Rangers and struggled even more against the Bruins, who were without Patrice Bergeron (lower-body injury).
A nice give-and-go led to Debrusk’s opener on the power play at 8:03 of the first period. Weber tied the game at 12:41 on a rebound at the side of the net.
That’s when Pastrnak got to work on his seventh career hat trick.
The NHL’s leading goal scorer, Pastrnak beat Price with a one-timer on the power play at 14:24 for Boston’s second score on five shots.
Marchand made it 3-1 on a bad giveaway by Jeff Petry behind his own net with 37 seconds remaining in the first. It was the winger’s 600th NHL point. Price conceded three goals on eight shots in the first.
Pastrnak’s goal eight seconds into the second period sealed Montreal’s fate, and Bjork gave Boston a 5-1 lead on a breakaway a minute later.
Julien took a timeout and pulled Price - the first time that has happened since Dec. 9, 2017.
Pastrnak completed his hat trick when he deflected Brandon Carlo’s shot past Kinkaid at 9:06 of the second.
Coyle made it 7-1 on a one-timer at 8:26 of the third as fans left Bell Centre. Heinen added an eighth for Boston with 2:02 left.
NOTES: Marchand has 10 points in his last four games. ... Bruins forward Jack Studnicka made his NHL debut. ... Montreal is winless since losing Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron to injury (0-3-2). ... The Bruins are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games against Montreal. The teams meet again in Boston on Sunday for the third of four encounters this season.
Bruins: At Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.
Canadiens: Host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.
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