Pastrnak scores 2 as Bruins extend point streak to 16, beat Habs

David Pastrnak scored twice as the Boston Bruins beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1.

Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien’s first taste of action against his former team didn’t go well at all.

The Boston Bruins, who were led by Julien to a Stanley Cup in 2011 but who fired him last February, won three times in an eight-day period over Montreal, including a 4-1 victory on Saturday night. The games were Julien’s first against his former team since he signed with Montreal a week after Boston let him go.

And it was a combination Julien first put together seven years ago — Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, along with more recent linemate David Pastrnak — that did most of the damage.

“If I’d known I’d have to face them like I do now I would have kept them separated all those years,” Julien quipped after losing 4-3 in a shootout at home, 4-1 in Boston before losing again at the Bell Centre Saturday.

But Julien wasn’t taking the setback lightly.

“We didn’t play a bad game but they were better than us,” he said. “Our faceoffs and our puck battles. We need to be more determined.”

Pastrnak led the Bruins with two goals and an assist, while defenceman Torey Krug contributed a goal and two helpers as Boston (27-10-8) extended its string of games with at least a point to 16 (12-0-4). Riley Nash added a late empty-net goal.

Boston and Montreal have one of the most heated rivalries in the NHL, but there hasn’t been much emotion with the Bruins among the top teams in the conference while the Canadiens’ playoff hopes are fading. Montreal needed to go on a winning streak, but ended a stretch of five games in eight days at 1-2-2.

“Because of the rivalry and it’s Montreal, it always means a little more over the years for fans in the New England area, but for us, we talked about trying to catch the teams in front of us and then eliminating opportunities for teams that are chasing you,” said Boston coach Bruce Cassidy. “We did some of that this week with Montreal, being a division rival, so that part of it is good.

“But at the end of the day, it’s how we’re playing and how we’re winning that’s gratifying for a coach. To see us hang in there and, as the game goes on, to be the stronger team.”

Max Pacioretty scored for Montreal (19-22-6). The Canadiens were coming off a 3-1 win Friday night in Washington.

Pacioretty kept his hot streak going with his seventh goal in seven games 11:29 into the second period. Paul Byron lost the puck, stripped it back from Charlie McAvoy from behind and then slipped a backhand pass to Pacioretty on a 2-on-1.

Pastrnak caught Carey Price sleeping with a quick shot along the ice from zero angle that caught the goaltender’s left skate and went in at 14:09.

Krug was allowed to walk in from the blue line, take a feed from Pastrnak and beat Price over the right shoulder at 15:56.

The Bruins looked to have another goal on a power play at 11:00 of the third period, but a video review showed the play was clearly offside.

Pastrnak got one that counted, his 20th of the season, at 17:03 as Jamie Benn couldn’t handle a puck in front of Price and the Czech forward swept in to put it in the net.

“David’s a dynamic player,” said Cassidy. “I like that he went to the net more tonight and shot.

“When his goal-scoring goes away for a while I think he gets too cute at times or a little bit one on one moves. We’ve addressed it. He’s trying to mature as a player as well. But tonight he threw pucks at the net and got to the net. That was a huge goal, the insurance goal late. That’s a backbreaker. But that’s a very, very good line. We get to see it every night and boy they came through for us.”

Before the game, a moment of silence was held for legendary sports writer Red Fisher, who covered the Canadiens from 1955 to 2012. Fisher died Friday at 91.

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