BOSTON (AP) – Brad Marchand scored two goals 15 seconds apart in the first period and completed the hat trick with a shorthanded goal in the second period, leading the Boston Bruins to a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
Curtis Lazar also scored for Boston and Urho Vaakanainen scored his first NHL goal. Linus Ullmark stopped 24 shots as he tried to hold onto his place in the goaltending rotation with Tuukka Rask, the most victorious goaltender in franchise history, set to make his season debut on Thursday night.
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It was the Bruins’ third straight win – their sixth in seven games – and the third time in a row they opened a four-goal lead. Michael Pezzetta scored midway through the second period for Montreal to make it 4-1 and spoil Ullmark’s shutout.
Jake Allen allowed two goals on seven shots in the first 17:11 before being replaced by Sam Montembeault, who stopped 31 of 34 shots the rest of the course.
The teams were initially scheduled to meet in Montreal on Wednesday night and in Boston on March 12. The Bruins’ home game has been brought forward, in hopes that capacity restrictions in Canada will be relaxed by March.
Oskar Steen scored the Bruins’ first goal at 14:43 from the first when he fought Nick Suzuki for the puck and took it to the net, where Marchand scored. Marchand scored again 15 seconds later when he scored a high rebound in as he fell onto the ice, his stick barely beating Patrice Bergeron’s to the puck.
Lazar was credited with the goal that made it 3-0 as Jake DeBrusk’s shot bounced off his foot and into the net as he was pushed into the lunge. There was still a three-goal lead after seven minutes of play when Marchand pitched the Bruins on a shorthanded break, then ended it by smashing the net on the rebound for his fifth career hat trick.
It was his 33rd career shorthanded goal, placing him tied for 14th all-time with Brian Rolston and Guy Carbonneau and a dozen more than the next highest active player.
CHANGE OF GOALKEEPER
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Rask, who won the Vezina Trophy in 2014, was a finalist for the award in 2020 but only played 24 games last season as the team managed their workload as they battled hip injuries and in the back. He had surgery to repair a torn hip labrum and did not sign, saying he would only play for Boston.
He signed a friendly one-year contract on Tuesday that will net him $ 545,000. He took to the ice for the pre-game warm-ups to the familiar “Tuuk!” Glee; with Boston leading 5-1 in the dying minutes, fans chanted “We want Tuukka!”
Notes: The Canadiens have claimed forward Rem Pitlick on waiver of the Wild. The 2016 third-round pick has six goals and five assists in 20 games for Minnesota this season. Pitlick’s brother Rhett was drafted by the Canadiens but is a freshman in Minnesota. … The Bruins have assigned goaltender Jeremy Swayman to AHL Providence to make room for Rask. Defender Tyler Lewington has been recalled from Providence in an emergency. … Bruins defenseman John Moore left the game with an unspecified injury and did not return.
Canadiens: In Chicago on Thursday night to complete the first half of a 10-game road trip as they attempt to avoid COVID-related capacity restrictions in Montreal.
Bruins: Host Philadelphia Thursday night in what should be Rask’s start to the season.
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