MONTREAL (CP) – Rookie Patrice Bergeron fulfilled a childhood dream in his first regular season game in his home province of Quebec.
Bergeron continued his hot start with his third goal and Felix Potvin made 23 saves for his 29th career shutout as the Boston Bruins beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 Tuesday night for their sixth win in seven games. “When I was young, I didn’t necessarily root for the Canadiens, I rooted for the Nordiques,” said Bergeron, 18, who grew up in the Quebec City suburb of Charny, Que. “So to score against the Canadiens was very fun for me.”
Bergeron, who estimated there were 25 to 30 family members and friends among the 19,245 at the game, has been the surprise of this young season for the Bruins.
His three goals and five assists give him a healthy lead in the league rookie scoring race and place him in a tie for third in team scoring with Sergei Samsonov, behind only Joe Thornton and Glen Murray.
“We were happy for him,” said Thornton. “He’s been playing great for us. And to do it in Montreal, where all his friends and family are, we’re excited for him.”
Mike Knuble also scored for the Bruins (6-2-2-0), who outshot Montreal
33-23, including 10-3 in the first period.
Mathieu Garon made 31 saves for the Canadiens (5-5-0-0), who were shutout for the second night in a row following a 5-0 loss Monday in Philadelphia and lost their third straight.
Other than Sheldon Souray, who scored twice in a 6-2 loss to Ottawa at home Saturday, the Canadiens have not scored in 182 minutes and 22 seconds since Andreas Dackell got a goal at 17:38 of the third in a 3-0 win against the
Islanders last Thursday.
“In this little streak where we’ve been losing, we’re kind of sitting back and not being very aggressive, kind of getting away from our game plan,” Souray said. “We’re trying maybe to be a little more individual than team, and that’s not going to work for us.”
Potvin had a second straight stellar outing, following a 26-save performance in a 3-1 win at Colorado last Tuesday, to post his first shutout of the season.
“This was close to our best game of the year,” Potvin said. Samsonov, Martin Lapointe, Thornton and Murray had assists for the Bruins.
Boston opened the scoring on the power play at 10:27 of the first when Bergeron batted a rebound out of the air and past Garon. Knuble put Boston ahead 2-0 at 10:09 of the second. Murray had the puck roll off his stick with an open net before he corralled it and gave it to Thornton behind the net. Thornton immediately fed it out front to Knuble, who banged home his fifth of the year while Garon didn’t have a stick.
“There’s almost 700 pounds of players on that line,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said of the Thornton trio. “So that makes it tough on (opposing) teams.”
Potvin stopped Habs defenceman Craig Rivet on three good scoring chances in the third to preserve his shutout. He made a glove stop on a wrister from the high slot and a pad save seconds later on a slap shot from the point during the Canadiens lone power play of the game early in the third, and he also stopped Rivet from point-blank range just before the midway point of the period.
Waiver acquisition Darren Langdon made his Canadiens debut and it took him less than nine minutes to make his presence felt, fighting to a draw with Bruins tough guy Sandy McCarthy.
NOTES: Montreal was still without Saku Koivu, who has not played yet this seaosn because of a sprained right knee. … Canadiens winger Niklas Sundstrom was a healthy scratch to make room for Langdon, and defenceman Ron Hainsey joined him in the press box . . .Ted Donato was a healthy scratch for Boston.