Ben Chiarot scored midway through the third period to snap a 4-4 tie and the Canadiens went on to defeat the Boston Bruins 5-4 Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
Chiarot’s winner came minutes after the Bruins celebrated what they thought was the go-ahead goal. Charlie Coyle scored from a scramble in front, but head coach Claude Julien challenged the goal and the replay showed Coyle was offside on his original entry into the zone.
When a team is playing the second half of a back-to-back set, as the Bruins were Tuesday night, the strategy is simple — apply pressure early. That’s exactly what the Canadiens did as they used their speed and skill to take a 3-1 lead in the first period.
Victor Mete opened the scoring at 1:13 of the first period. Jeff Petry and Joel Armia picked up assists, but the key play on the goal was made by Max Domi. He saw Petry cut behind a defender and passed to the defenceman at the left faceoff circle. Petry’s shot deflected off Armia in front and Mete beat Tuukka Rask on the rebound.
The Canadiens added two goals in a 31-second span late in the period. Tomas Tatar had a 2-on-1 break with Phillip Danault. He elected to shoot and the result was his fifth goal of the season.
And Paul Byron, who has struggled in the early going, picked up a puck at the blue-line and skated in alone to beat Rask for his first goal of the season.
The only negative for Montreal in the first period was yet another failure by the penalty-killing unit. Mete took a penalty for hooking Zachary Senyshyn at 14:49 and David Pastrnak scored six seconds later. Torey Krug set up Pastrnak for a slapshot from the left point. The goal was a league-leading 15th for Pastrnak, who extended his points streak to 14 games. Montreal did better killing a penalty early in the third period, but Krug hit a post and the momentum carried over when the teams were at even strength and Sean Kuraly scored to tie the game 4-4.
The power play has also had its problems of late. The Canadiens went 0-for-5 in their 4-1 loss in Dallas Saturday and came up empty on two power plays early in the second period, managing only two shots on goal.
While the Canadiens continued to press and outshot the Bruins 12-9 in the second period, Boston received a couple of goals from the team’s lesser lights. Defenceman Connor Clifton scored his first NHL goal, but he looked like a seasoned sniper as he went upstairs on Price’s blocker side. Anders Bjork tied the game at 18:13.
Mete added his second goal 42 seconds later with some help from Nate Thompson, who went hard to the net. He made contact with Rask, who lost his stick on the play, but the goal stood because Zdeno Chara gave Thompson a shove prior to the contact.