Montreal Canadiens right wing Brian Gionta (21) checks Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, of the Czech Republic, into the boards during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Thursday, March 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Coach Jacques Martin says he didn't expect his Canadiens to come out fighting to avenge Max Pacioretty's injury—he just wanted them to win the game.
Boston's Zdeno Chara, the defenceman who sent Pacioretty to the hospital after a crushing hit, had three assists to lead Boston to a 7-0 victory over Montreal on Thursday night.
The win left the Bruins five points ahead of second-place Montreal in the Northeast Division; Boston has nine games left, and the Canadiens seven.
"I wouldn't say (it was) a lack of emotion—more a lack of execution," Martin said.
"The response is you want to win the hockey game and battle with the Bruins when you are trailing them by three points."
The highly anticipated game between the Original Six rivals came 16 days after Chara banged Pacioretty into a padded stanchion, leaving him on the ice with a broken vertebrae and a concussion. The hit prompted Montreal fans to call police and demand criminal charges; authorities say they have opened an investigation.
The NHL chose not to suspend the Bruins captain. Chara said he has tried unsuccessfully to contact Pacioretty, who was released from the hospital after two days and is expected to be out at least until the playoffs.
Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell scored twice, and David Krejci and Milan Lucic also had three assists to help the Bruins beat Montreal for just the second time in six games this season. Tim Thomas stopped 24 shots for his career-best eighth shutout and 25th of his career.
Johnny Boychuk, Adam McQuaid and Tomas Kaberle also scored for Boston.
"I never thought we would do this," Bruins forward Mark Recchi said "(I) thought it would be close."
Carey Price allowed five goals on 33 shots before he was replaced with 15:31 left following Adam McQuaid's goal that made it 5-0. Price is 2-5 in his last seven starts, allowing 21 goals in his five losses. He was replaced by Alex Auld, who stopped two of eight shots.
It was Montreal's second consecutive shutout.
Elsewhere in the NHL, it was: Toronto 4 Colorado 3; Ottawa 2 N.Y. Rangers 1 (SO); St. Louis 4 Edmonton 0; Atlanta 2 N.Y. Islanders 1; Pittsburgh 2 Philadelphia 1 (SO); Nashville 5 Anaheim 4; Phoenix 3 Columbus 0; and Los Angeles 4 San Jose 3 (SO).
At Boston, Fans were scanned with metal detecting wands when they came through security—a routine measure, according to TD Garden General Manager Hugh Lombardi. Although he would not comment on specific measures, he said security was "heightened."
"Typical Montreal and Boston," he said before the start of the third period. "We like to make sure we're on our toes."
The Boston fans taunted the Canadiens fans among them, waving signs that said "Call 911" and mocking the cheers usually heard at the Bell Centre. But there were no obvious problems in the stands, and just one short fight on the ice between Campbell and Paul Mara.
The Bruins quickly made sure there wasn't any suspense over the outcome—thanks largely to Chara, who has three goals and eight assists in his last nine games.
Boychuk scored 61 seconds into the game on the rebound of Chara's shot, then Chara assisted on Campbell's goal that made it 2-0 with 6:17 left in the first. Horton had his first of the game to give the Bruins a three-goal lead after one, then, after a scoreless second period, the Bruins erupted for four goals in the third to chase Price from the net and turn it into a rout.
With under seven minutes left in the game and the Bruins giving up a 5-on-3 advantage, Campbell poked the puck out of the zone and split the defenders to break free, beating Auld to make it 7-0. Tyler Seguin put the puck in the net just after the final buzzer, but the goal did not count.
Maple Leafs 4, Avalanche 3
At Denver, Nikolai Kulemin had two goals, and Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak also scored, leading the Toronto Maple Leafs past the Colorado Avalanche for their third straight win.
The Maple Leafs boosted their points total to 78, three behind idle Buffalo for the Eastern Conference's final playoff berth. Toronto has seven games remaining.
Penguins 2, Flyers 1 (SO)
At Philadelphia, Chris Kunitz's shootout goal lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Flyers.
The Penguins are five points out of the lead in the East and the Flyers hold a two-point lead over idle Washington.
Senators 2, Rangers 1 (SO)
At New York, Erik Karlsson scored the lone goal of the shootout in the fifth round and the Ottawa Senators snapped the Rangers' season-best, five-game winning streak.
The game mattered much more to the Rangers, the seventh-place team in the Eastern Conference. New York closed within two points of sixth-place Montreal, which lost at Boston, with seven games left.
Thrashers 2, Islanders 1
At Uniondale, N.Y., Rob Schremp scored the winning goal against his former team as the Atlanta Thrashers beat the New York Islanders 2-1.
Blues 4, Oilers 0
At St. Louis, Jaroslav Halak needed to make only 12 saves to earn his sixth shutout of the season and T.J. Oshie had a goal and an assist in the St. Louis Blues' victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Predators 5, Ducks 4
At Nashville, Tenn., Sergei Kostitsyn scored two goals, both in the first period, as the Predators beat the Anaheim Ducks.
Coyotes 3, Blue Jackets 0
At Glendale, Ariz., Ilya Bryzgalov made 27 saves to record his seventh shutout of the season and Phoenix topped Columbus.
Kings 4, Sharks 3 (SO)
At Los Angeles, Dustin Brown scored twice in regulation and once in a shootout to give the Kings a victory over San Jose.