The Canadian learned Saturday evening at TD Garden that he cannot compete blow for blow against the leaders of the Eastern Conference.
Danton Heinen scored a hat trick, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak each had a goal and an assist and the Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal club 9-4.
Before the meeting, the Bruins honored the members of the 1987-88 edition, which ended a 45-year “curse” without beating the Canadian in the playoffs.
The spectacle that followed was reminiscent of offensive hockey from the 1980s.
The Bruins took advantage of the Canadian’s numerous errors in his execution to accumulate goals after turnovers or on excessive attacks.
The Canadian held on for two periods thanks in particular to two power play goals. However, he ended up breaking against a team with more resources than him.
Cole Caufield, Joel Armia, Mike Matheson and Brendan Gallagher scored for the Canadian (19-20-7), who allowed more than five goals in a second straight game. Sean Monahan had three assists and Samuel Montembeault allowed eight goals on 30 shots before giving way to Cayden Primeau midway through the third period. Primeau stopped five shots.
Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk also each had a goal and an assist, while Brandon Carlo and Pavel Zacha were the other scorers for the Bruins (28-8-9), who won their fourth straight game. James van Riemsdyk had two assists and Linus Ullmark made 17 saves.
The Canadian has now lost his last seven games in Boston. His last road victory against the Bruins dates back to January 14, 2019.
Forward Josh Anderson was back in the Habs lineup after a four-game absence due to a lower-body injury. Jesse Ylönen was left out.
The Canadian will play their next game on Tuesday, when they host the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre.
Action on both sides
Caufield opened the scoring for the Canadian on a power play at 9:18 in the first period. He thus hit the target in a fifth game in a row — a personal best.
Carlo responded for the Bruins at 12:47, scoring off a pass from Trent Frederic during a two-on-two attack.
Armia then took advantage of a feed from Joshua Roy to score his eighth goal of the season at 15:00 and give the Canadian a 2-1 lead.
DeBrusk tied the game 2-2 with 1:50 left on the clock. He threaded the needle on his way back to the net.
Heinen then gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead with 54.4 seconds left in the first period. He was lucky when a shot from Matt Grzelcyk deflected against his skate at the mouth of the net before crossing the goal line.
Matheson tied the game 3-3 with a power play goal at 6:16 of the second period. He took advantage of a putback from Monahan and beat Ullmark with a sharp shot from the glove side.
The Bruins, however, regained control of the match thanks to two goals in a span of 49 seconds.
Heinen gave the Bruins a 4-3 lead at 10:46 of the middle period. He scored his second goal of the game with a precise shot during a two-on-one attack.
Coyle then widened the gap by winning a race towards a puck sent towards the front of the net by Pastrnak. He pushed the disc into the opening just before Montembeault intercepted it.
Gallagher reduced the lead to a single goal before the end of the second period. He was credited with a goal at 13:19 when Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm awkwardly slipped a return shot under Ullmark’s pad.
The CH collapses
The Bruins dealt hard blows to the Habs’ hopes by scoring twice early in the third period.
Pastrnak took advantage of a disagreement between Gallagher and Jayden Struble to escape. He scored on his own putback at 1:26.
Marchand then scored at 4:32 with a one-timer moments after Coyle intercepted a dangerous pass from Juraj Slafkovsky in his own territory.
Zacha turned the iron in the wound by scoring his 100e career NHL goal at 9:13. This goal put an end to Montembeault’s ordeal.
Heinen finally completed his hat trick by scoring on the power play with 9:20 left in the game.