Montreal Canadiens

Claude Julien gets last laugh in return to Boston

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Claude Julien gets last laugh in return to Boston

BOSTON -- David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner each scored an early goal, Tuukka Rask stopped 21 shots and the Bruins beat Montreal 4-1 Wednesday night in Canadiens coach Claude Julien's return to Boston.

The surging Bruins have earned at least a point in 14 straight games (10-0-4), their longest stretch since going 15-0-1 in March 2014.

Brad Marchand added a power-play goal in the third period, David Krejci had an empty-netter and Patrice Bergeron had two assists for Boston, which posted its second win over the Canadiens in five days. The teams meet again in Montreal on Saturday night.

Jakub Jerabek scored his first NHL goal for Montreal, and Carey Price made 28 saves.

Julien, who coached Boston's Stanley Cup-winning team in 2011, was fired last Feb. 7 in his 10th season. He was replaced by assistant and current Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, who opted for more up-tempo, charge-into-the-zone play from his defensemen as opposed to Julien's mostly defensive-minded style.

Rask extended his career-best point streak to 15 games (13-0-2), including a 4-3 shootout win at Montreal last Saturday (see full recap).

Ducks score 4 in 2nd period to beat Penguins
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Rickard Rakell and Adam Henrique scored 1:35 apart to Anaheim the lead during its four-goal second period, and the Ducks went on to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 Wednesday night.

Chris Wagner and Ondrej Kase also scored for Anaheim in the middle period, and Hampus Lindholm added an empty-netter in the final second of the game. John Gibson stopped 30 shots to help the Ducks improve to 7-3-1 in their last 11 games.

Anaheim scored four goals in a period for first time since doing it in the third period at Buffalo last Feb. 9.

Jake Guentzel, Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin scored for the Penguins, who snapped a four-game win streak. Tristan Jarry made 28 saves.

With the Ducks trailing 1-0, Rakell tied it on a redirect of a shot by Francois Beauchemin at 4:17 of the second. Henrique then put them ahead at 5:42, beating Jarry with a wraparound while the rookie was caught flatfooted at the opposite post trying to get his stick back.

Wagner scored on a short-handed breakaway to make it 3-1 at 9:24, notching the third special-teams goal of his career, all of which have come this season.

Kase's smooth breakaway backhand with 1:32 left in the period capped off the scoring deluge. Kase, who also had an assist, has five points in his last three games (see full recap).

There's a new leader atop the Metropolitan Division

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There's a new leader atop the Metropolitan Division

WASHINGTON -- Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson had a goal and two assists each, Alex Ovechkin had three assists and the Washington Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Saturday night to move atop the Metropolitan Division.

Braden Holtby stopped 25 shots as Washington won its eighth straight home game. Christian Djoos had a goal and an assist, and Tom Wilson and Matt Niskanen also scored for the Capitals.

New Jersey had gone eight games without a regulation loss. John Moore scored ate in the first period and Travis Zajac midway through the third. Corey Schneider stopped 30 shots.

Marcus Johansson played in his first game as a visitor in Washington after seven seasons with the Capitals and assisted on both goals.

Wilson got the game's first goal, his sixth of the season, beating Schneider at 2:26 in the first period. Djoos gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead at 11:09. It was Djoos' third goal this season and his first since Oct. 21.

After Moore's goal, Carlson's fourth at 7:01 of the second made it 3-1. Niskanen added his third goal of the season at 4:25 of the third. Backstrom added his eighth goal, an empty-netter, in the game's final minute.

The win was Washington coach Barry Trotz's 737th. He's now in fifth place on the career list, passing Lindy Ruff (see full recap).

Reimer stops 37 for another shutout, Panthers beat Habs
SUNRISE, Fla. -- James Reimer stopped 37 shots for his second shutout in three games and the Florida Panthers beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 on Saturday night.

It's been a busy month for Reimer since starter Roberto Luongo was injured Dec. 4, and he capped December with another stellar show. He also beat Ottawa 1-0 a week ago with a 38-save effort.

Vincent Trocheck and Connor Brickley scored for the Panthers, who won their fifth straight game with Reimer in goal. Brickley also had an assist.

Carey Price made 32 saves for Montreal, which has lost four straight. The Canadiens have been held to one goal or fewer in four straight games.

The Panthers' winning streak is their longest since they won five straight from Feb. 11-20.

Trocheck put the Panthers ahead 2-0 with 8:11 left in the third period. MacKenzie Weegar passed across the slot to Trocheck, who fired the puck past Price.

Brickley gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead 4:02 into the second. Mark Pysyk took a shot that bounced off Brickley in the left circle. Brickley grabbed the loose puck, spun around and shot the puck past Price (see full recap).

Ryan Spooner, Tuukka Rask help Bruins shut out Senators
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Ryan Spooner scored twice and Tuukka Rask made 25 saves in the Boston Bruins' 5-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.

Noel Acciari, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron also scored for the Bruins, 5-1 winners over the Senators on Wednesday night in Boston. Rask had his second shutout of the season and 40th overall.

Mike Condon stopped 29 shots for the Senators. Ottawa was shut out five times in December, going 4-8-2 in the month. The Senators have been outscored 14-6 in their past three games.

Boston took a 4-0 lead in the second, scoring three goals on 13 shots.

Sean Kuraly provided a screen for Acciari, who beat Condon off his backhand for a 2-0 advantage. Just over two minutes later, Ben Harpur, looking to shoot the puck in at the blue line, had his shot picked off by Spooner, who broke in alone and beat Condon through the legs.

Krejci, returning to the lineup after missing six games with an upper-body injury, then picked up Charlie McAvoy's rebound and tucked it in at the side of the net on the power play. The Bruins took a 5-0 lead in the opening minutes of the third when Bergeron tipped Torey Krug' shot for their third power-play goal of the game.

The Bruins opened the scoring at 8:13 of the first on the man advantage. After a couple of solid saves by Condon, a rebound popped right out to Spooner (see full recap).

Surging Lightning stay hot before hosting Flyers

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Surging Lightning stay hot before hosting Flyers

TAMPA, Fla. -- Steven Stamkos scored twice, and the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 Thursday night for their 10th win in 11 games.

Brayden Point got the tiebreaking goal in the third and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves as Tampa Bay picked up its eighth consecutive victory at home.

Brendan Gallagher scored and Carey Price stopped 31 shots for Montreal, which has lost seven of 10.

Nikita Kucherov negated a potential icing by getting past Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner and sent a backhand pass from behind the net to Stamkos, who tied it at 1 with 12 seconds left in the second.

Kucherov has seven assists and 12 points during an eight-game point streak.

Point put the Lightning up 2-1 during a goalmouth scramble 30 seconds into the third (see full recap).

Ovechkin powers Capitals to shootout win over Bruins
WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin got his 24th goal of the season and then scored in the shootout to help the Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 on Thursday night.

Lars Eller and Brett Connolly also scored for the Capitals, who snapped a three-game losing streak and won their 12th consecutive game over the Bruins. Washington also ended a scoring drought that had lasted almost nine full periods.

David Backes scored twice for the second time this season, but Boston lost for the third time in its last 12 games. Noel Acciari also scored for the Bruins.

Boston built a 2-0 lead before Washington registered its first shot of the game, and also led 3-2 in the third.

Washington's Braden Holtby and Boston's Anton Khudobin each made 31 saves.

Connolly tied it at 3 with 8:38 left in the third when he appeared to attempt a centering feed toward Tom Wilson at the crease. Instead, the puck caromed off a Boston player and over the line before Khudobin could stop it.

Ovechkin had the only successful shootout try, finishing into the top right corner (see full recap).

Auston Matthews scores for Leafs in Arizona homecoming
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Auston Matthews scored in Toronto's three-goal first period in his Arizona homecoming to help the Maple Leafs beat the Coyotes 7-4 on Thursday night.

Facing the Coyotes in Arizona for the second time in his career, the 20-year-old Matthews scored in his second straight game after missing six because of concussion-like symptoms.

With Toronto off since beating the Rangers on Saturday night in New York, Matthews spent the Christmas break with his family in Scottsdale. He feasted on mother Ema's cooking and played golf with father Brian and younger sister Breyana, an accomplished junior golfer.

The family was out in full force at Gila River Arena in the Maple Leafs' only Arizona visit of the season. Thousands of fans wore Toronto jerseys, with Matthews' No. 34 the most popular.

Patrick Marleau scored twice for Toronto, Zach Hyman, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Connor Brown added goals, and Frederik Andersen made 30 saves.

Josh Archibald, Brendan Perlini, Jordan Martinook and Christian Fischer scored for the NHL-worst Coyotes. Arizona was coming off a 3-1 victory in Colorado on Wednesday night (see full recap).