Bruins beat Montreal; Canadiens celebrate late Guy Lafleur
MONTREAL (AP) — Erik Haula scored twice, including a penalty shot, and the Boston Bruins beat Montreal 5-3 Sunday night as the Canadiens paid tribute to the late Guy Lafleur.
The Canadiens celebrated the Hall of Famer, who died Friday at age 70, with a ceremony before the game.
A video of Lafleur’s goals and of him lifting the Stanley Cup played at the Bell Centre before fans gave him a standing ovation that lasted more than 10 minutes.
On the boards, the usual ads were replaced by a simple tribute to Lafleur — listing his name, his number, his signature and the years of life: 1951 to 2022.
“It was an emotional night in Guy’s honor. We felt that Guy was with us in the third,” Canadiens interim coach Martin St. Louis said. “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.”
It was another memorable chapter in the historic rivalry between the Canadiens and Bruins.
“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,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “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.”
Boston’s Patrice Bergeron had two goals, including an empty-netter, and an assist. Charlie McAvoy scored the eventual 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.
“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.”
Josh Anderson, Mike Hoffman and Nick Suzuki scored for Montreal. Jeff Petry had two assists and Samuel Montembeault made 37 saves.
Bergeron opened the scoring for Boston by tapping a loose puck into an open net. He passed Raymond Bourque and moved into fourth place in career goals in Bruins history.
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 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.”
The Canadiens scored their first of the game 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 score of the game.
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 to two goals on the power play with a one-timer slap shot from the point.
Suzuki, left alone in the slot, cut the Canadiens’ deficit to a goal at 7:19.
Bergeron sealed Boston’s win with an empty-netter with seven seconds to go in the game.
Boston: Host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday in the opener of a two-game homestand.
Montreal: At New York Rangers on Wednesday.
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