Marchand scores a hat trick, Bruins beat Canadiens 5-1


BOSTON (AP) — Brad Marchand skated around the ice, waiting for the cleanup crew to pick up hats thrown on the glass to celebrate his fifth career hat trick.

He stopped to pick up a wide-brimmed purple number that will be signed by the team, dated and added to his collection.

“The hat speaks for itself,” Marchand said Wednesday night after recording his fifth career hat trick in a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. “There is sexy written everywhere.

Marchand scored twice 15 seconds apart in the first period and added a shorthanded goal in the second to lead the Bruins to their third straight win and sixth in seven games. It’s the third game in a row that they’ve opened up a four-goal lead.


“I think it’s closer to who we are,” coach Bruce Cassidy said.

Curtis Lazar also scored for Boston and Urho Vaakanainen scored his first NHL goal. Linus Ullmark stopped 24 shots as he tried to hold on to his spot in the goalie rotation with Tuukka Rask, the winningest goaltender in franchise history, slated to make his season debut on Thursday night.

Michael Pezzetta scored midway through the second period for Montreal to make it 4-1 and spoil Ullmark’s shutout attempt.

Jake Allen allowed two goals on seven shots in the first 17:11 before being replaced by Sam Montembeault, who stopped 31 of 34 shots until the end.

The teams were originally scheduled to meet in Montreal on Wednesday night and in Boston on March 12. The Bruins’ home game has been brought forward, with hopes that capacity restrictions in Canada will be eased by March.

Oskar Steen scored the Bruins’ first goal at 14:43 from first when he battled Nick Suzuki for the puck and put it in net, where Marchand netted it. Marchand scored again 15 seconds later when he slid a high rebound as he fell to the ice – his stick barely beating Patrice Bergeron’s towards the puck.

Lazar was credited with the goal that made it 3-0 when Jake DeBrusk’s shot bounced off his foot and into the net as he was pushed into the slot. There was still a three-goal lead seven minutes into the second when Marchand started the Bruins on a shorthanded break, then finished it by smashing the net on the rebound for his fifth career hat trick.

It was his 33rd career shorthanded goal, tying him for 14th all-time with Brian Rolston and Guy Carbonneau and a dozen more than the second-highest active player.

CHANGE OF GUARDIAN

Rask, who won the Vezina Trophy in 2014, was a finalist for the award in 2020 but only played 24 games last season as the team managed its workload while battling hip injuries and in the back. He underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip and did not sign a contract, saying he would only play for Boston.

He signed a one-year, team-friendly contract on Tuesday that will net him $545,000. He took to the ice for pre-game warm-ups to the familiar cheers of “Tuuk!”; with Boston leading 5-1 in the final minutes, fans chanted “We want Tuukka!”

Cassidy said inserting Rask into the blowout was out of the question. “He is freezing on the bench. I think he would give me the stop,” Cassidy said.

“We know he hasn’t played for months. He told us he was ready to go, in training, and he looks good,” the coach said. Where it leads. Whether he throws a shutout tomorrow or is average, we’re not going to make judgments based on a single game.

Note: The Canadiens claimed forward Rem Pitlick off waivers from the Wild. The 2016 third-round pick has six goals and five assists in 20 games with Minnesota this season. Pitlick’s brother, Rhett, was drafted by the Canadiens but is a freshman at Minnesota. … The Bruins assigned goaltender Jeremy Swayman to Providence of the AHL to make room for Rask. Defender Tyler Lewington has been recalled from Providence on an emergency basis. … Bruins defenseman John Moore left the game with an unspecified injury and did not return.

FOLLOWING

Canadiens: In Chicago on Thursday night to complete the first half of a 10-game road trip as they attempt to avoid COVID-related capacity restrictions in Montreal.

Bruins: Host Philadelphia Thursday night in what should be Rask’s season opener.

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