Haula’s two goals lift Bruins over Canadiens 5-3 in emotional night at Bell Centre

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MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins added another memorable chapter to their historic rivalry on Sunday night.

The Habs celebrated the life of legend Guy Lafleur who passed away Friday. Down 4-1, Montreal (20-49-11) rallied with two goals in the third period but the Bruins escaped the emotional Bell Centre with a 5-3 win.

“The rivalry, it's still there from the years so every time we play Montreal, we want to make sure we put our best foot forward,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “I'm sure they feel the same way, especially at home on a night like tonight. We had the upper hand early and they had no quit their game, give them credit. They battled back right to the last 30 seconds it took us to put them away.”

Erik Haula scored twice, including a penalty shot. Patrice Bergeron had a three-point night (two goals, one assist) to help Boston notch back-to-back wins. Charlie McAvoy added the eventual game winner. Jeremy Swayman made 23 saves.

Cassidy added that the Bruins considered giving Bergeron a night off but he refused in order to play in front of family. Bergeron broke the ice for Boston (49-25-5) by tapping in a loose puck in an open net. The centreman passed Raymond Bourque as the fourth all-time goal scorer in Bruins history.

“He's a legend in Boston, obviously. You know, like (Jean) Beliveau was here or (Jacques) Lemaire,” Cassidy said. “To do it here in his home province, good for Bergy. It's a long year for him when you get to be that age to play that many games. It's game 79 for him and back-to-back.”

The Bell Centre crowd had an opportunity to celebrate the passing of Guy Lafleur prior to the game. Following a pre-game ceremony, the crowd cheered for 10 minutes to honour the Canadiens legend.

“It was an emotional night in Guy’s honour. We felt that Guy was with us in the third,” said Canadiens interim coach Martin St. Louis. “Like I told my players, you play so many games in the league, you might remember a few regular season games but you will remember that one.”

“On a night like this, if (the players) didn’t know what the Canadiens are to the province of Quebec I think they know now tonight.”

Following the final buzzer, Brendan Gallagher led his teammates back onto the ice to salute Lafleur's retired No. 10.

“That’s a big show of respect, I’m happy that (Gallagher) did that. Guy deserves that respect,” St. Louis said. “It’s important to give this to the next generation of players. The legacy is important.”

Josh Anderson, Mike Hoffman and Nick Suzuki added goals for Montreal while Jeff Petry recorded two assists. Samuel Montembeault made 37 saves.

The Bruins were awarded a penalty shot at 18:03 of the first period when Mike Hoffman slashed Erik Haula. The winger over-skated the puck but then managed to beat Montembeault.

“I had to bite my jersey because I didn't really know how to react to it myself and the guys were laughing,” said Haula who added that Brad Marchand wanted him to fail. “He was hoping that I touched it because he had done it before so that he wasn't going to be alone in that boat but thankfully I didn't and ended up scoring but there was a lot of laughs.”

“I didn’t really understand what was going on,” said Montembeault. “The crowd started screaming and I’m not sure he understood either, he was skating slow, it was weird but I still needed to save that.”

The Canadiens scored their first of the night at 1:51 of the second period on the power play. Anderson grabbed a loose puck in the slot and backhanded his 19th goal of the season.

Boston regained its two-goal lead when Tomas Nosek found Haula on the rush for his second marker of the night.

McAvoy got Boston up by three just before the second intermission with a shot from the point while both teams were playing four-on-four.

Montreal rallied with two goals in the third period. Hoffman cut Montreal’s deficit back to two goals on the power play with a one-timer slapshot from the point.

Suzuki, left alone in the slot, brought the Habs back to one goal at 7:19.

Bergeron sealed Boston's win with an empty-netter with seven seconds to go in the game.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2022.

Tristan D’Amours, The Canadian Press

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