MONTREAL -- For the first time since winning the Northeast Division last season, the Boston Bruins are in first place in the Northeast after edging the Montreal Canadiens, 1-0, for their ninth straight win.
Tim Thomas made 32 saves for his second straight shutout and third of the season, and Andrew Ference scored the lone goal of the game 15:41 into the first period. Carey Price made 17 saves for the Canadiens.
Thomas zeroed in -- After shutting out the Islanders 6-0 Saturday night, Tim Thomas got another shutout with a 32-save performance Monday night. Thomas has not allowed a goal since 6:56 of the third period in a 4-3 win over New Jersey on Nov. 15 and his shutout streak is now at 1:33:04. He has three shutouts this season and is starting to resemble the Vezina Trophy-winning Thomas of last season and the Thomas that won the Conn Smythe Trophy and led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup.
Penalty kill comes up huge -- They didn’t have many penalties to kill, but when they needed to, the Bruins PK unit got the job done. The Bruins killed off a four-minute high-sticking infraction on Benoit Pouliot in the second period that could have swung the momentum Montreal’s way, and then killed off a cross-checking call on Rich Peverley for the last 1:39 of regulation, preventing the Habs from tying the game.
Ference has first goal-scoring streak of career -- Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference scored for the second straight game and now has his first goal-scoring streak in his 12 seasons in the NHL. Ference has two lamplighters this season. Ference has looked very solid at both ends of the ice since returning from a lower-body injury last Thursday night.
Mostly disciplined game by Bruins -- Prior to Monday night, both coach Claude Julien and Dennis Seidenberg referenced how undisciplined the Bruins played in their last visit to the Bell Centre (a 4-2 loss Oct. 29). Well, with the exception of Rich Peverley’s cross-checking penalty with 1:39 left and two straight brain cramps by forward Benoit Pouliot -- who was called for hooking Habs defenseman Alexei Emelin after Emelin labeled him with a clean hit and then took a double-minor high-sticking penalty just under five minutes later -- the Bruins played a textbook game when it came to discipline. In the past, the Canadiens have been one team that has found a way to get under the collective the skin of the Bruins, but on Monday the Bruins kept their composure.
Lineup remains the same -- There were no changes to the Bruins' lineup Monday night as Benoit Pouliot remained on the third line and Jordan Caron was a healthy scratch once again. On defense, Steven Kampfer was the odd man out again.
Here’s what the lineup looked like:
Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid