The Boston Bruins ended their historic regular season on a high note.
David Pastrnak scored the winning goal with nine minutes remaining and Boston earned a 5-4 comeback win over rival Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
The Bruins closed their Presidents Trophy-winning season by establishing all-time records for wins (65) and points (135) in a single season. The team celebrated by breaking the 1976-77 Canadiens’ record for wins in their final home game of the season against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday and added to it against the Habs at the Bell Centre.
“We took five minutes and celebrated it and we moved on,” said Jeremy Swayman, who was awarded the William Jennings trophy along with teammate Linus Ullmark. “We know that there’s a bigger goal in mind. And we’re going to take that confidence into the playoffs.”
“I think we appreciate what we’ve accomplished,” added Bruins coach Jim Montgomery. “But the beauty of sports is you have to have a short memory because two days later, the next day, we’ve got to move on. Three days from now, we start game one.”
The Bruins are now set for a first-round matchup against last season’s Presidents Trophy winners, the Florida Panthers.
“They’re a really good team, very dangerous team and we’re gonna have to be at the top of our game if we want to have success,” Montgomery said of the Panthers.
Dmitry Orlov, with a goal and an assist, Trent Frederic, Jake DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle also scored for Boston (65-12-5). Swayman made 30 saves.
Lucas Condotta scored in his NHL debut, while Michael Pezzetta, with one goal and one assist, Nick Suzuki and Justin Barron added the others for Montreal (31-45-6).
Starting on back-to-back nights, Sam Montembeault made 16 saves.
Condotta put Montreal in front early when he zoomed into the crease and batted the puck in 3:27 into the first period. Joel Teasdale was later credited with an assist, giving him his first NHL point.
“It was loud, it was nice to hear,” Condotta said of the crowd cheering as his name was called. “To be honest, some of the best fans in the world. I grew up in Toronto and it beat that, times two.”
Teasdale appreciated his two games spent with the Canadiens. The forward will return to AHL affiliate Laval Rocket as they push to clinch a playoff spot.
“I proved that I can play with these guys against the best in the league,” Teasdale said. “We were able to do a good job. It gives me confidence and I’ll try to bring that to the Rocket.”
Boston levelled the game 9:19 into the frame when Frederic redirected Connor Clifton’s shot from the right faceoff circle.
DeBrusk gave the Bruins their first lead of the night at 14:40 when he shocked Montembeault, who wasn’t ready to make the save, with a tight-angled shot.
Joel Edmundson intercepted a clearance along the boards and took a shot from the point that Suzuki tipped in 7:16 into the second period. He tied Cole Caufield’s team-high mark of 26 goals this season.
Montreal regained its lead just over a minute later when Rem Pitlick outraced Swayman for the puck and sent a pass to Pezzetta, who tapped in his seventh of the campaign into the empty net.
Orlov sniped the puck just under the crossbar to knot the game at 3-3 for Boston at 13:58 of the middle frame.
Barron fired a loose puck from the slot for a short-handed goal to give the Habs their third lead of the night 1:09 into the third period.
Coyle knotted the contest for Boston, disregarding Chris Wideman’s marking and beating Montembeault with a wrister at 8:48.
Just over two minutes later, Orlov connected with Pastrnak on a cross-crease pass and Pastrnak netted his 61st of the season and the winner.
Canadiens defenceman Mike Matheson left the game early in the second period after getting tangled up with Coyle in the neutral zone and falling onto the ice. The team announced during the second period that Matheson had suffered a lower-body injury and would not return.
Defenceman David Savard received the Jacques Beauchamp trophy, awarded by Montreal sports journalists to the Canadien who played a dominant role without receiving a particular honour.
“It shows how much I want to give to the team and it’s flattering to receive this,” Savard said. “It shows that people have witnessed how much I give for the team without earning a star or stuff like that. I don’t really care for that, the success of the team is what’s important to me.”
Canadiens: End of season.
Bruins: Stanley Cup playoffs first round against the Florida Panthers.