BOSTON — It doesn’t matter who is coaching the Canadiens or how many points separate them from Boston in the standings, the Bruins never take it easy against Montreal.
David Krejci scored off his skate to break a second-period tie, and Tim Thomas stopped 33 shots on Monday night to lead Boston to a 3-2 victory over the slumping Canadiens. Montreal lost its third consecutive game – two of them since firing coach Jacques Martin and replacing him with Randy Cunneyworth.
“It’s like a wounded animal,” said Bruins forward Andrew Ference, who assisted on Krejci’s goal. “They become pretty dangerous when they’re backed into a corner.
“You don’t take people for granted. Fired coach or not, you prepare for every team like they’re dangerous, because that’s the reality.”
Benoit Pouliot and Brad Marchand also scored for the Bruins, who have won 19 of 22 since losing back-to-back games to Montreal at the end of October.
“I don’t even look at the standings,” said Thomas, the defending Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy winner. “I don’t think too much about who the coach is and who the coach isn’t. That’s a distraction.”
Carey Price made 28 saves and Tomas Plekanec scored for the Canadiens, who have lost nine of their last 12 - a streak that cost one of the NHL’s winningest coaches his job and left them in last place in the Northeast Division.
The Canadiens fired Martin on Saturday, cutting loose a coach who earned his 600th NHL victory last year - ninth on the career list. Cunneyworth was an assistant on the staff; his promotion has caused controversy in Quebec because he doesn’t speak French.
STARS 5, DUCKS 3
In Dallas, Michael Ryder scored the go-ahead goal at 6:42 of the third period after Dallas had wasted a three-goal lead, and the Stars went on to beat Anaheim.
With the game even at 3, Ryder skated up the middle and converted Loui Eriksson’s setup for Ryder’s 11th of the season.
Eric Nystrom added an insurance goal for Dallas at 14:19 of the third.
Dallas’ Alex Goligoski and Mike Ribeiro scored power-play goals over a 24-second span in the second period. Brenden Morrow also connected for the Stars.
KINGS 3, MAPLE LEAFS 2
In Toronto, Dustin Brown scored the only goal of a shootout Monday and the Los Angeles Kings wrapped up a bizarre road trip with a win.
Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer made 40 saves, and Justin Williams and Brown scored in regulation for Los Angeles.
John-Michael Liles and Matt Frattin scored for Toronto.