Boston was missing Milan Lucic, serving his one-game suspension as ordered by Brendan Shanahan, but filled the hole in the lineup with sophomore Tyler Seguin, who had been scratched in their game vs. the Flyers on Saturday.
The Habs kept the game simple and direct, attacking Tim Thomas early while preventing the Bruins from finding quality opportunities on Carey Price. In a typically physical match between the two Northeast division rivals, neither side was able to find sustained pressure on either goalie until the Canadiens iced the puck just past the 12-minute mark of the first period.
Rich Peverley would win the ensuing faceoff, driving the puck forward through Petteri Nokelainen before shoveling it over to Benoit Pouliot. The former Hab grabbed the puck before Price could adjust and fired into the open net, giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
Almost before the goal horn's echo faded, Montreal had responded, capitalizing on a miscue by Thomas. Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri attacked the Boston defense, cutting into the offensive zone on a quick up-ice rush before firing a shot that Thomas attempted to play back to his defense. The pass hit Travis Moen's skates at the side of the net and was pounced on by Camalleri, who threw the puck into the slot through the swarming Boston defense. Plekanec took the loose puck and fired a rising shot to beat Thomas stick side.
The Canadiens were not able to continue the rally, however, as the Bruins responded to the goal with heavy pressure on Price to close out the first period, and continued the assault early in the second period. As the Canadiens attempted to recover within their own zone, P.K. Subban sent a pass up ice intended for Louis Leblanc. Andrew Ference intercepted the puck and took it back behind Price before throwing it into the crease. David Krecji tipped the shot off the post and in, putting the Bruins back on top with his first goal since Dec. 3.
Despite both teams trading power play chances, including a double minor for Leblanc that lasted through the end of the second period and early into the third, the score was unchanged until fewer than six minutes were left in regulation. As the Canadiens attempted to break out of their own zone, Patrice Bergeron stole the puck from Travis Moen just inside the Montreal blue line, driving the puck back to Tyler Seguin as the Canadiens attempted to recover.
Seguin set up a wide open Brad Marchand between the faceoff circles, who walked in and deked out Price, almost appearing to make one move too many as he lost his footing. Price attempted to poke the puck away, but Marchand lifted a backhand shot up and into the net before he slammed to the ice to extend the Boston lead.
Cunneyworth made the decision to bring Price to the bench in the final minutes of regulation for an extra attacker, and Erik Cole brought Montreal back within a goal with just over a minute to go, though the goal required video review to confirm that the puck had not been kicked into the net.
Price returned to the bench after the ensuing faceoff, but Zdeno Chara blocked the one real threat to tie the game off Max Pacioretty's stick, while the remaining defenders concentrated to taking away good shooting lanes in front of Thomas. Dennis Seidenberg managed to get the puck and loft a long shot in the dying seconds at the open net, but the puck would ring off the pipe in the final moments before the horn sounded to seal the Boston victory, while the Canadiens were left with the knowledge that they offered a solid road game but are still waiting to celebrate their interim coach's first win.