After holding a 1-0 lead through the first two periods, the Bruins imploded in the third, allowing four goals (one empty-netter) to the Canadiens. With the win, the Habs leapfrog Boston in the conference standings and clinch the season series.
The Bruins were outshot 14-7 in the final frame, and Tuukka Rask finished with 28 saves to Carey Price's 23.
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has less than 24 hours to figure out how to fix this team, because all that pre-break confidence stemming from the four game win streak has certainly evaporated. The Bruins lost their fourth game when leading after two periods and still have to learn how to play a full 60 minutes before they start slipping again.
Third period, 1:01, Canadiens 4-1: The Bruins will play the final 1:01 with a power play, as Dominic Moore is in the box for slashing.
Third period, 1:27, Montreal 4-1: There's the dagger — Boston pulls Tuukka Rask and Benoit Pouliot quickly makes the steal and buries the empty-netter.
Third period, 2:30, Canadiens 3-1: Talk about adding insult to injury. The Canadiens get their third unanswered goal, courtesy Mathieu Darche.
Tom Pyatt drives the puck from the right circle and Darche dumps the rebound past Tuukka Rask.
Third period, 4:26, Canadiens 2-1: This could definitely constitute a demoralizing loss, if the B's can't score here in the final four minutes. You got the feeling that when their mini-run before the break began, the Bruins were pretty confident that they could play a full 60 minutes, that they were done blowing leads in the final period, but you get the feeling here that they're right back to where they were a week before the break, when they lost 10 straight.
Third period, 7:47, Canadiens 2-1: Scott Gomez and Zdeno Chara battle all the way down along the boards until Gomez gets off a wraparound bid, but Tuukka Rask gets a glove on it. Tempers flare in front of the net after the whistle — no penalties, though.
Third period, 12:36, Canadiens 2-1: Maxim Lapierre puts the Habs on top, as Travis Moen grabs a loose puck off the boards and puts it on net and Lapierre drives in the rebound.
It's Montreal's second goal in about five minutes, and suddenly, this is looking all too similar to the kinds of games that bit the Bruins before their four-game winning streak began.
Third period, 12:55, 1-1: Upon further review, it appears Tuukka did make the save with his head.
Third period, 13:42, 1-1: Glen Metropolit is about as close as he can get to putting the Habs up 2-1, firing point blank from right outside the crease after taking a feed from behind the net. Whether the puck went off the post or off Tuukka Rask (his helmet maybe?) is unclear.
Third period, 15:43, 1-1: Michael Ryder is whistled for holding, adding insult to injury. It's a big opportunity for the Habs, and also a good chance for the B's to regain some momentum after coming out flat in the third.
Third period, 16:26, 1-1: Glen Metropolit strikes again.
The Habs have tied things up, as Tom Pyatt finds a streaking Metropolit in front of the net, and he slides it right past Tuukka Rask before Rask even knows where the puck is. It was a perfectly-timed feed by Pyatt and a perfect shot.
That's Metropolit's fourth in five games against the Bruins this year.
End of second period, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins protect their lead in the second period, largely due to the play of Tuukka Rask, who has looked calm and collected throughout the first 40 minutes. He has 18 saves thus far, while Montreal's Carey Price has 16.
Boston's power play didn't fare quite as well in the second frame, going 0-for-2 despite some quality scoring chances, particularly one orchestrated by Marc Savard, who found a wide-open Marco Sturm in front of the net. Sturm's shot was saved by defenseman Hal Gill.
Boston outshot Montreal 10-8 in the second, but the overall shot advantage goes to the Canadiens, 18-17.
The Bruins were a bit lucky to keep that one scoreless through the second and during the third, they'll need to capitalize on some of the chances they squandered during that one.
Second period, 1:26, Bruins 1-0: Tuukka Rask has had to make a couple of big saves in the aftermath of the penalty, as the Canadiens seem to be capitalizing on the penalty kill momentum boost. One of the shots came off the stick of Bruins killer Glen Metropolit.
Second period, 2:37, Bruins 1-0: The Sturm chance is really the only good chance the B's get, as the Habs kill another one.
Second period, 3:28, Bruins 1-0: Marc Savard, who finds himself on a breakaway, draws a slashing penalty on Maxim Lapierre. The B's are 1-for-2 on the man advantage.
Twenty-five seconds into the power play, Savard finds Marco Sturm wide-open in front of the net, catching Carey Price out of position, but fortunately for the Habs, Hal Gill is there to make the stop behind the goaltender.
Second period, 6:12, Bruins 1-0: David Krejci brings the puck in back of the net and feeds to Blake Wheeler at the left post and Wheeler's bid goes just wide. Big missed opportunity there.
Second period, 7:13, Bruins 1-0: Daniel Paille gets off two quick shots in about 20 seconds, one off a steal on the blue line that deflects off Jaroslav Spacek's stick and another one-timer that is stopped by Carey Price. Price had a busy stretch there but he's holding strong through the second, making five saves this period, 16 total.
Second period, 9:47, Bruins 1-0: Maxim Lapierre fires a one-timer from the boards and hits the post, and Tuukka Rask makes a nice save on Lapierre's rebound bid.
Rask now has 13 saves.
Second period, 10:59, Bruins 1-0: After being outshot 10-7 in the first period, the B's are dominating in the second, outshooting the Canadiens 5-1.
Second period, 12:13, Bruins 1-0: With about 30 seconds left on the power play, Michael Ryder gets off a good opportunity from the slot but Andrei Markov gets a stick on it and deflects it, and the Habs successfully kill the penalty.
Second period, 14:50, Bruins 1-0: Jaroslav Spacek heads into the box for hooking, allowing the B's their second power play of the night.
Boston is 1-for-1 on the power play tonight, and Derek Morris begins this one with a shot from the blue line. Carey Price makes the save.
Second period, 17:24, Bruins 1-0: Zdeno Chara also had a short-handed bid as the penalty expired by Carey Price was able to corral the puck and eliminate the threat.
Second period, 19:33, Bruins 1-0: We're underway in the second, and the Habs have 1:09 left on the Vladmir Sobotka penalty.
Daniel Paille gets off the first shot of the frame, a short-handed bid.
End of first period, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins are exactly where they want to be heading into the first intermission — up by one at home against their hated rivals.
After even play throughout the first half of the frame, the B's capitalized on a power play, as Marco Sturm scored his team-leading 19th goal of the season against Carey Price. From then on, Boston dominated offensively, despite giving the Habs a power-play opportunity of their own with a little under a minute left to play. Montreal will begin the second period with 1:09 left on the man advantage.
Montreal is outshooting the B's 10-7 thus far.
First period, 45 seconds, Bruins 1-0: Vladimir Sobotka goes into the box for slashing. Montreal's power play has a 25 percent success rate, second in the league.
First period, 1:15, Bruins 1-0: The Canadiens are still outshooting the Bruins — 9-7 now — which is remarkable considering the fact that the puck has spent virtually no time in Montreal's offensive zone since the Boston goal.
First period, 6:20, Bruins 1-0: Michael Ryder comes in on a 2-on-1 with Blake Wheeler and makes a perfect pass, but Wheeler's shot gets caught just inside the right post and Price is able to get the glove on top of the puck.
First period, 7:22, Bruins 1-0: Marco Sturm puts the B's on the board with the power-play goal, his team-leading 19th of the season.
Savard battles for the loose puck against the boards and feeds to Chara, who sends in a shot from inside the blue line. Sturm pounds the rebound past Carey Price, and Price tries to argue that Sturm was inside the crease but the call stands.
First period, 8:29: The Bruins get their first power-play opportunity of the night, as Andrew Ference takes a hard elbow in the back from Dominic Moore.
First period, 10:45: Brian Gionta corrals a loose puck that takes a funny bounce off the boards and fires a one-timer, but Rask makes another nice save with the outstretched glove.
First period, 12:02: The Canadiens are outshooting the B's 4-3 in the early going.
Make that 5-3 — Tuukka Rask makes a glove save on a bid by Roman Hamrlik. He streaks in toward the net after taking a feed in-stride from Glen Metropolit.
First period, 13:48: There's lots of talk of David Krejci's work during the Olympics — two goals and an assist — and how much he proved himself on the big stage. It'll be interesting to see what his performance does for his confidence over the last 22 games.
First period, 18:11: Marc Savard gives Carey Price his first work of the night, attempting a wrister from the right circle.
There's lots of end-to-end action to start off tonight, with no offense truly dominating the action in the early going.
6:37 p.m.: As reported by NESN's Naoko Funayama during the pregame show, Olympic gold medalist Patrice Bergeron is out of commission, as he aggravated his groin during the tournament.
Bergeron classified the injury as day-to-day and isn't worried about missing substantial time.
The silver medalist, Tim Thomas, will also be out of the lineup in lieu of Tuukka Rask. Rask will be facing another non-Olympian in Carey Price, who gets the start in favor of Jaroslav Halak.
4:13 p.m.: The Bruins look to kick off their toughest month of the season with a win against the Canadiens at the TD Garden. The Black and Gold are hoping that the rust from the two-week Olympic break wears off quickly, because with 16 games in March, every win is big — especially against the Habs, who sit just behind Boston in the division standings and in the conference standings.
The good news for the Bruins is that for the first time in a long, long time, there are very few injuries to report. Patrice Bergeron is nursing a tweaked groin and Tim Thomas might need a little extra breathing room to finish recovering from their deep Olympic runs with Canada and USA, but other than that, the B's should be at full strength in their quest to win their fifth in a row.
Boston's four-game win streak started with a road win over the Canadiens back on Feb. 7, and the season series stands at 1-1-2.
No news yet on whether Thomas or Tuukka Rask will be in net, but we'll keep you updated. Puck drops at 7 p.m.