Canadiens conclude three-game road trip with 9-4 drubbing by powerful Bruins

Goaltender Samuel Montembeault received little support and was shell-shocked, allowing eight goals on 30 shots before mercifully being replaced by Cayden Primeau in the third period.

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Geographically speaking, the Canadiens’ three-game road trip over four days made little sense — beginning in New Jersey, followed by a trip to Ottawa and then back to the U.S., in Boston.

On top of that, Montreal players were forced to sit on the bench for more than 20 minutes Saturday night while a pre-game ceremony honouring the 1988 Bruins team — the first that finally beat the Canadiens in the playoffs — took place.

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Was there any correlation between all this and Boston’s 9-4 drubbing of the visitors at TD Garden? It’s entirely possible.

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It was the most goals Montreal has surrendered this season in a game, although the four unanswered Bruins’ goals in the third period made a competitive contest look entirely one-sided. It also came only 48 hours after the Canadiens allowed six against the Senators — the fifth time Montreal has allowed that total.

Danton Heinen paced the Bruins with three goals, his first career hat-trick. Heinen had five goals in 36 games this season before facing Montreal. Brandon Carlo, Charlie Coyle, Pavel Zacha, captain Brad Marchand, Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak added singles. Indeed, every Boston player except fourth-line centre Matthew Poitras produced at least one point.

At one juncture in the second period, Boston scored two goals in 49 seconds.

“I thought through two periods it was a great game, a fun game to be part of,” Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis told reporters in Boston following the embarrassing defeat. “The third period was hard. Every now and then this league will humble you. That’s kind of what happened to our team in the third period.

“That’s OK. Maybe this is a period that sends us to a higher place. We’ll learn from this. It’s hard going through it, but it’s no time to feel sorry for yourself.”

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Pastrnak, the Bruins’ leading scorer, now has 30 goals and 66 points in 45 games and continues to produce despite the retirement of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, his former linemates. Pastrnak scored 61 goals and 113 points in 82 games last season. Pastrnak scored three goals in Boston’s 5-2 victory against Colorado on Thursday.

In 28 career games against Montreal, Pastrnak has 18 goals and 37 points. Marchand has 17 goals and 45 points in 53 games against the Canadiens.

The Canadiens actually scored first in the game, slightly more than nine minutes following the opening faceoff, when Cole Caufield scored on the power play. It was Caufield’s 16th goal this season and his fifth in as many games.

Caufield becomes the fifth Montreal player in the past 50 years to record a five-game goal-scoring streak at the age of 23 or younger. The last was Andrei Kostitsyn in 2008-09. The others include John LeClair (’92-’93), along with Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt, both during the 1974-75 season.

Mike Matheson, Brendan Gallagher and Joel Armia also scored for Montreal. Sean Monahan had three assists for the Canadiens, who went 2-for-3 on the power-play.

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But it obviously wasn’t a good night defensively.

Six players — Caufield, Matheson, David Savard, Josh Anderson, Juraj Slafkovsky and Jake Evans — all had plus/minus totals of minus-3, while Gallagher, captain Nick Suzuki, Jayden Struble and Justin Barron were all minus-2. Anderson returned to the lineup for the first time since Jan. 11, against San Jose, having recovered from a lower-body injury. It was his 499th career NHL game and he won a second-period fight against Trent Frederic.

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Goaltender Samuel Montembeault received little support and was shell-shocked, allowing eight goals on 30 shots for a save percentage of .733, before mercifully being replaced by Cayden Primeau at 9:13 of the third period. Primeau, who played against Ottawa, was beaten on the first shot he faced.

It was Montembeault’s seventh start in 11 games.

“He (Montembeault) shouldn’t be too hard on himself,” Suzuki told reporters in Boston. “We definitely let him down. He has been amazing all year, making big saves. We’ve got to play better in front of him. I don’t think he should worry too much about it. The guys in front of him didn’t play well.”

The Bruins (28-8-9) won their fourth consecutive game and improved to 12-0-1 against Montreal. The Canadiens once again fell below .500 (19-20-7), but can exact revenge against the Senators on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.

“Honestly, it’s a game going into the third,” Gallagher told reporters in Boston. “We made a lot of mistakes that (I thought) we had grown out of. We resorted back to maybe the team that we were early on in the year (and) going back to last season. That’s not the team we’re proud of. We like to say we’re building around here, but we took a step back tonight, obviously.

“Tonight, we got taught a lesson.”

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