BOSTON (AP)David Pastrnak had his fourth hat trick of the season and the Boston Bruins rolled to their third straight win over the Montreal Canadiens, 4-1 on Wednesday night.
Boston has won seven of its last eight and took three of four in the season series with rival Montreal. The Bruins outscored the Canadiens 15-3 over the final three meetings. Montreal has lost two straight as it tries to stay in the hunt for the playoffs.
Patrice Bergeron added an empty-net goal and Tuukka Rask had 28 saves for the Bruins to improve to 13-0-6 at home this season.
Marco Scandella scored Montreal’s lone goal. Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who had allowed two or fewer goals in seven of his previous 11 starts, had 34 saves
Pastrnak now has eight career regular-season hat tricks and nine overall, all but one coming in the last two seasons. He is the first Bruins player with four hat tricks in a season since Phil Esposito during the 1974-75 season. The only player in Bruins history with more hat tricks in a single season was Esposito, who had seven in 1970-71. Pastrnak becomes the second player in the NHL this season with four hat tricks, joining Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.
With 41 goals on the season Pastrnak also takes over the NHL lead for goals scored. Ovechkin and Toronto’s Auston Matthews both have 40. The Maple Leafs and Capitals were idle on Wednesday.
Pastrnak’s scoring barrage came on a night in which the intensity was at its usually high level between the longtime rivals. A total of 12 penalties were issued, including six for roughing.
The Bruins’ 23-year-old winger needed just seven minutes of the first period to post the game’s goal.
Brad Marchand intercepted a pass at the red line and skated into Canadiens’ zone. From there he split defenders Jeff Petry and Brett Kulak, spun and passed to a cutting Pastrnak, who slipped a wrist shot past Price.
Marchand would spend the final 1:!2 of the first in the penalty box, along with Petry after getting into a brief wrestling match at center ice that was quickly broken up by officials. The exchange started when Petry checked Marchand into the boards. Marchand responded by poking his stick at Petry. He returned the favor, leading to both to drop their gloves.
The Bruins made it 2-0 early in the second period after Sean Kuraly took the puck away from Petry to start a 2-on-1 break with Pastrnak, who completed it hard wrist shot past a diving Price.
Montreal got a little luck to go their way just 36 seconds later, getting on the board when Scandella’s long shot from just inside the blue line ricocheted off teammate Nick Suzuki and by Rask.
But after Joel Armia was sent to the penalty box for roughing Torey Krug with 4:46 left in the period, Pastrnak got his final goal of the night on the power play 31 seconds later when he cut off Petry’s clearance attempt of Marchand’s shot in front of the crease and pushed it into the corner of the net.
NOTES: Boston’s Anders Bjork played in his 100th career NHL game. … Bruins winger Joakim Nordstrom returned to action after missing four straight games with an allergy condition. … Montreal played without captain Shea Weber, who has been out since Feb. 4 with a lower-body injury. … Canadiens center Phillip Danault was back in the lineup after leaving Monday’s loss to Arizona when he was struck in the face by a puck.
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