KEN POWTAK, Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins certainly look sparked by the coaching change.
Tuukka Rask posted his first career regular-season home win over Montreal by making 25 saves for his sixth shutout, 39-year-old Zdeno Chara had an impressive move on his short-handed goal and the Bruins improved to 3-0 under interim coach Bruce Cassidy with an impressive 4-0 victory over the Canadiens on Sunday night.
The Bruins have recorded 14 total goals in the games under Cassidy, more than any other three-game stretch this season under fired coach Claude Julien.
“We definitely have played like that,” Rask said. “Obviously when you score a lot of goals, it’s easy to be energized, but I think everybody is skating hard and we’re playing as a five-man unit and being creative in the offensive zone.”
Adam McQuaid, David Krejci and Frank Vatrano also scored for Boston, which won for the sixth time in eight games. Rask entered 0-9-3 at TD Garden during the regular season against Montreal.
“I hope they’re confident. They should be,” Cassidy said. “They’ve played well and rebounded when stretches haven’t gone well or got a goal scored against us.”
Cassidy replaced Julien earlier in the week. Julien was in his 10th season with the team and led them to the 2011 Stanley Cup.
Carey Price had 32 saves for the Canadiens, who lost for the sixth time in seven games.
“We seem to have lost our identity,” Price said. “We’re a little loose. We just have to take a step back and get refocused.”
The 51-year-old Cassidy was with the team’s AHL club in Providence for nine seasons before becoming an assistant with Boston this season. He also coached the Washington Capitals from 2002-04.
For the second time in the last three games in the Boston area, fans had to travel through a major snowstorm to get to the Garden. The building was surprisingly about three-quarters full and they were treated to another entertaining effort with Cassidy at the helm.
It was a spirited contest early when Boston defenseman Torey Krug and Montreal center Andrew Shaw dropped the gloves and got into a fight in the opening minute.
The Bruins jumped ahead 1-0 midway into the first when rookie Peter Cehlarik set up McQuaid for a one-timer from the left circle that beat Price on the stick side. It was Cehlarik’s first NHL point.
The Bruins made it 2-0 on Chara’s goal early into the second. The 6-foot-9 captain made a nifty shift around Alexander Radulov in the slot before firing a wrister into the net.
“He was dialed in,” Cassidy said of Chara. “He wanted to be out there in all key situations.”
Krejci’s power-play score came with just under five minutes to play in the second for Boston’s season-high eighth straight game with a power-play goal.
The short-handed and power-play goals ruined the struggling Canadiens’ spirit for the night.
“We just lost momentum in the second with the special teams,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. “They were up three goals and that was it.”
NOTES: It was Rask’s 36th career shutout, moving him out of a tie with Frank Brimsek for second on the club’s all-time list. … Canadiens RW Brendan Gallagher was back in the lineup after being out since Jan. 7 with a broken hand. … Bruins LW Matt Beleskey was in the lineup after being a healthy scratch Saturday. … McQuaid played his 400th career game. … The organist played ‘Let It Snow’ during the second intermission. … It was the last regular-season meeting between the teams this season.
Canadiens: host Winnipeg on Saturday.
Bruins: open a four-game road trip next Sunday at San Jose following their five-day bye week.
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