Jeremy Swayman lifts Bruins over Canadiens, 4-2

Tribune Content Agency

BOSTON — The Bruins haven’t exactly been playing like Stanley Cup favorites the last couple of games, but their goalies have been there to make sure they didn’t pay the consequences for it.

After Linus Ullmark made 40 saves on Tuesday to beat Ottawa, Jeremy Swayman made 30 stops, some of them spectacular, to lead the B’s to a 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens at the Garden on Thursday.

The B’s took a rather shaky 3-2 lead into the third period but they finally created some breathing room with 7:44 remaining in the third. After David Krejci helped to win a puck along the right boards, he headed for the net while David Pastrnak got the puck up to Connor Clifton at the right point. Krejci received Clifton’s pass at the top of the crease, took it wide and scored his 16th on a backhander.

The Habs’ Denis Gurianov and Jonathan Drouin missed open nets in the final couple of minutes and the B’s survived to improve to 55-11-5.

The first period was highlighted by the fact that, despite a yawning gap between the two teams in the standings, the B’s and Habs will never play nice, despite the fact that the league has done its best to water down one of the best rivalries in sports.

There was bad blood aplenty in the first period that saw 31 penalty minutes dished out while the B’s took a 2-1 lead.

The B’s jumped on top at 4:34 on Tyler Bertuzzi’s first as a Bruin. It wasn’t a pretty one but, with the luck he’s had, he’ll take it. He beat Chris Wideman behind the net in a puck battle and tried a centering pass, but it went off goalie Jake Allen and into the net.

Then at 7:50, tempers flared. Well after the puck was gone and behind the play, Rem Pitlick took a run at Patrice Bergeron, knocking him to the ice. He was going for interference, but that was not enough for Brad Marchand. He made a bee line for Pitlick, flinging his gloves off and pounding the Hab with punches on the ice as Canadien players tried to pull him off. Marchand got four minutes and Pitlick got two.

The B’s took a 2-0 lead at 13:38 on another beauty from Jake DeBrusk. Just as Connor Clifton was making his way out of the penalty box, Bergeron banked a pass up to him in the neutral zone and Clifton handed it off to a rushing DeBrusk. The fleet wing split Joel Edmundsson and David Savard — the two D-men comically colliding in his wake — and he beat Allen with his 24th over the blocker.

Nastiness continued. Jake Evans drew the ire of Charlie McAvoy when he gave Jeremy Swayman a snow shower, with McAvoy burying Evans. The B’s wound up with a power play, but they couldn’t cash in.

The B’s then got themselves in trouble on a faceoff. A.J. Greer was jousting on a faceoff with Mike Hoffman, who had gotten away with a two-hand slash ton the back of Tomas Nosek’s legs earlier in the game. Greer then crosschecked Hoffman straight in the face, earning himself a five-minute major and the gate at 17:08. Greer could well get a call from the Department of Player Safety.

With 19 seconds left in the period, Nick Suzuki got the Habs back to within a goal on a one-timer, and they still had over two minutes of PP time. The goal snapped Swayman’s shutout streak at 164:33.

They were able to kill that, thanks to a great save by Swayman on Rafael Harvey-Pinard followed by Swayman gloving the puck just before the goal line.

Back at full strength, the B’s recaptured their two-goal lead at 2:36 of the second. Bertuzzi sent a pea of a pass to David Pastrnak at the left circle and, after the sniper made a shimmy move to the middle, he sifted his 49th goal through Allen.

Emotions seemed to settle down after that — to the B’s detriment as they spent too much time in the own zone. After Garnet Hathway was called for holding, the Habs crept back to within a goal with 3:47 left in the period. Kirby Dach scored on a redirect of a perfect Mike Matheson pass to make it 3-2.

Meanwhile, the B’s power play started to look ugly again. The went 0-for-4 in the first 40 minutes, during which they were outshot 25-14.