B's can't solve Montreal
BOSTON — Max Pacioretty scored for the second straight game to increase his team-leading goal total and Peter Budaj turned aside a season-high 34 shots as visiting Montreal defeated Boston, 4-1, for the fifth consecutive time.
Daniel Briere collected a goal and an assist and captain Brian Gionta netted a power-play tally for the Canadiens, who posted a 2-1 home triumph over Boston on Dec. 5. Defenseman Alexei Emelin scored for the first time this season and Brendan Gallagher notched a pair of assists in the victory.
Defenseman Dougie Hamilton scored and Chad Johnson made 14 saves in relief of Tuukka Rask (three goals on 18 shots) as the Bruins saw their four-game winning streak come to an end.
Montreal jumped out of the blocks in a hurry and scored on its sixth shot as Emelin's bid from the point sailed inside the right post at 2:16 of the first period. Pacioretty converted a partial breakaway over 12 minutes later for his 23rd goal before Hamilton trimmed the deficit in short order as his shot from the right point caromed off the skate of Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov and past Budaj.
With Brad Marchand serving a double-minor for roughing, Montreal regained its two-goal lead at 11:54 of the second period as Gionta deflected Tomas Plekanec's shot from the upper edge of the right circle. Rask was chased after the goal but Briere greeted Johnson 1:52 later by beating him over the glove on a breakaway.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Pacioretty also scored the eventual game-winning goal in the teams' previous meeting this season. ... Budaj's previous season high in saves was 31, set in Montreal's 4-3 shootout victory over New Jersey on Dec. 4.
... Boston RW Reilly Smith saw his seven-game point streak come to an end. He had collected three goals and five assists on the stretch. ... Rask was pulled for the fourth time this season and fell to 2-10-2 in his career versus the Canadiens.