Montreal Canadiens lose out to Boston Bruins after short-handed goal

Montreal Canadiens lose out to Boston Bruins after short-handed goal

Main pic: Boston Bruins’ Loui Eriksson (21) slides away from Montreal Canadiens’ defenceman Jeff Petry (26) after scoring a short-handed goal past goalie Mike Condon during third period NHL hockey action, in Montreal, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. The Bruins beat the Canadiens 3-1. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson.

Eriksson sparks third-period comeback with short-handed goal, Bruins beat Habs.

MONTREAL — Veteran Zdeno Chara jump started the Bruins on their way to a come-from-behind victory with some impressive stick work.

Chara assisted on the first of three third-period goals for Boston en route to a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.

Down 1-0 and playing shorthanded, Chara batted the puck out of mid-air from deep in his own zone to send Loui Eriksson on a breakaway for the game-tying goal. After receiving the puck at around centre ice, Eriksson fought off defenceman Jeff Petry and beat Habs goalie Mike Condon five-hole at 7:53.

“Zee (Chara) made a heck of a play on that first goal and that got us going,” said goaltender Tuukka Rask, who recorded his first career regular-season victory versus the Canadiens. “That kind of caught them off guard after that and we scored a couple of quick ones.”

Eriksson said he wasn’t aware Chara had used his hockey stick like a baseball bat to make the play.

“I didn’t see that,” said Eriksson. “Good play by him then. It was a late shift for me but I was able to find some room to get a breakaway. I didn’t really see what happened.”

Less than a minute later, Landon Ferraro silenced the already-stunned Bell Centre crowd once more when his snap shot blew by Condon’s blocker to make it 2-1.

“All of a sudden the control of the game came to our side,” said Chara. “We got more jump from that and we were feeling better after those two goals. You could tell by our forecheck.”

With less than seven minutes remaining on the clock, Patrice Bergeron doubled Boston’s lead when he out waited Condon and skated around him for his ninth goal of the year.

Boston (15-9-3) had not beaten Montreal in seven straight regular-season meetings dating back to March 12, 2014.

But things looked good for the Canadiens (19-7-3) to start the game.

Paul Byron was credited with his fourth goal of the season after his centring pass to Tomas Plekanec went off Bruins defenceman Zach Trotman and in. Byron now has points in three of his last four games.

Montreal repeatedly tested Rask in the first two periods, outshooting Boston 26-14 after 40 minutes, but the Bruins netminder kept his team in the game going into the third.

Boston outshot Montreal 9-7 in the final period of play.

“We played well until the end, until we fell asleep there,” said Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty. “It’s frustrating. Great play by Chara to spring him on the breakaway but we can’t take our foot off the gas when that happens. We fell asleep after that.”

Montreal, now 11-2-2 when leading after two periods, has lost three consecutive games for the first this season after dropping contests versus Carolina and Washington last week.

Rask made 32 saves for his 10th victory of the season while Condon stopped 20-of-23 shots in defeat.

Condon, in his sixth consecutive start, made big stops throughout to keep the Bruins at bay before the third-period collapse.

In the first, Condon reacted quickly to make the pad save on Brett Connolly, who was alone in front of goal. In the second, Condon stopped a puck through traffic off the long stick of Chara.

Notes: The Bruins’ league-best power play finished 0-for-2… The Canadiens won both previous games versus the Bruins this season by a score of 4-2… The Habs will play Boston in the 2016 Winter Classic on Jan. 1… Earlier in the day, the Canadiens put Alexander Semin on unconditional waivers in order to terminate his contract, while 21-year-old forward Charles Hudon was recalled from Montreal’s AHL affiliate.

Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press

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