Bruins 4, Canadiens 1
MONTREAL (AP) _ The Boston Bruins have discovered the key to winning in Montreal, and it could get them into the playoffs.
Unbeaten in their last seven road games, the Bruins dominated the Canadiens 4-1 Wednesday night at the Molson Centre.
``It’s no big secret, we just can’t play fancy if we want to win,″ Boston coach Steve Kasper said. ``We’re playing well, but we’re not in the playoffs yet.
``The two points are critical right now.″
Boston, 37-30-10, moved within two points of the fifth-place Canadiens in the Eastern Conference standings.
Montreal, 39-31-8, could have climbed into fourth place in the conference after the Florida Panthers lost 3-2 to the Ottawa Senators, but played one-stride behind Boston for most of the game.
The Bruins are 10-2-2 in their last 10 games and are fighting to preserve a two-point lead over the eighth-place Tampa Bay Lighting.
``Just doing the little things will win us games,″ Bruins netminder Bill Ranford said after a 28-save performance.
Todd Elik, Dave Reid, Ron Sutter and Shawn McEachern scored for Boston, while Vincent Damphousse got the loner for Montreal.
``We’ve played well against this team all season,″ Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque said, ``but we don’t have much to show for it.
``It was time for us to get it going because we were running out of time.″
With a game in hand and five left in the season, Boston could tie the Canadiens in the standings if they can beat them at home on Thursday.
Montreal has lost three consecutive games at home for the first time this season and has played poor and undisciplined hockey in the past two weeks.
Defenseman Lyle Odelein was suspended for two games Wednesday for shooting the puck at the Buffalo Sabres bench at the end of Monday’s 6-4 loss.
Chris Murray was also handed a three-game suspension for cross-checking Rob Ray in the head in the third period of the same game _ his second match penalty for a stick infraction this season.
This was Damphousse’s second game back after serving a two-game suspension last week, also for a cross-checking accident.
``It’s just not working right now. We have to change our style at home,″ Damphousse said. ``I don’t want to point any fingers, but we haven’t shown any discipline at all in the last two weeks.″
Elik scored an unassisted goal at 5:43 in the first period, a power play goal that defenseman Peter Popovic kicked into his own net.
Reid gave Boston a two-goal cushion at 11:38 with a short-handed goal, a weak backhander that goaltender Jocelyn Thibault should have stopped.
``This is the way we’ve played the last 15 games,″ Montreal coach Mario Tremblay said. ``We’re always behind in the first period. It’s the same story all the time.″
The Canadiens haven’t scored the first goal in a home game since they moved into the Molson Centre on March 15.
``I had individual and team meetings today to try to shake up the team,″ Tremblay said. ``We’re trying to wake them up, but they were tense.″
Boston was up 3-0, thanks to Sutter’s third goal this year, at 14:03 of the second period.
Damphousse game Montreal hope with just under four minutes left in the second, but McEachern scored for Boston at 4:17 in the third period.