BOSTON – Brad Marchand skated around the ice, waiting for the cleaning crew to collect hats thrown over the glass to celebrate his fifth career hat-trick.
He stopped to pick up a wide-brimmed purple number that would be signed by the team, dated and added to his collection.
“The hat speaks for itself,” Marchand said on Wednesday night after recording a fifth hat-trick of his career in a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. “It just says sexy.”
Marchand scored twice in the first period 15 seconds apart and added a short-handed goal in the second to take the Bruins to their third straight win and sixth in seven games. It was the third game in a row in which he took a four-goal lead.
“I believe it’s close to us,” said coach Bruce Cassidy.
Curtis Lazar also scored for Boston, and Urho Vakanainen got his first NHL goal. Linus Ullmark stops 24 shots as he tries to hold on to his spot in the goalkeeper rotation, with Tukka Rusk, the highest goalscorer in franchise history, expected to start his season on Thursday night.
Michael Pezzetta scored 4–1 in the middle of the second period for Montreal and spoiled Ullmark’s shutout bid.
Jake Allen first dropped two goals on seven shots in 17:11, before he was replaced by Sam Montembolt, who blocked 31 of the remaining 34 shots.
The teams were originally scheduled to meet in Montreal on Wednesday night and Boston on March 12. The Bruins’ home game was pushed ahead with hopes that capacity restrictions in Canada would be eased by March.
Oskar Stein set the Bruins’ first goal at 14:43 when he fought Nick Suzuki for the puck and put it over the net, where Marchand chipped it. Marchand scored again 15 seconds later when he swiped a high rebound as it fell on the ice – his stick was barely beating Patrice Bergeron with the puck.
Lazarus was credited with the goal that made it 3-0 when Jake Debresk’s shot jumped off his leg and into the net as he was being pushed around in the slot. It was still a three-goal lead in seven minutes into the second when Marchand started Brines on the short-hand break and then ended it by crashing the net on a rebound for his fifth career hat-trick.
It was his 33rd career short-hand goal, tying him with Brian Rolston and Guy Carboneau for a dozen more than the 14th all-time and next highest active player.
Rask, who won the Vezina Trophy in 2014, was a finalist for the award in 2020 but played only 24 games last season as the team managed his workload while he suffered hip and back injuries. He underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip and remained unsigned saying that he would not play for anyone other than Boston.
He signed a team-friendly one-year deal on Tuesday that would pay him $545,000. He went to the pregame warmup with “Tukes!” Took the snow for the familiar excitement of; With Boston leading 5-1 in the final minutes, fans chanted “We Wanna Tuck!” Slogan.
Cassidy said there was no thought of putting a rake in the explosion. “He’s cold on the bench. I think he’ll give me a stop sign,” Cassidy said.
“We know he hasn’t played for months. He told us he’s ready to go to practice, and he’s feeling good,” said the coach. “We’ll see where it goes. Whether it’s pitching a shutout tomorrow or an average, we’re not going to make decisions based on one game.”
notes: The Canadiens claim to have exempted Rem Pittlick from the wild. The 2016 third-round draft pick had six goals and five assists in 20 games with Minnesota this season. Pittlick’s brother, Rhett, was drafted by the Canadiens, but is a freshman in Minnesota. … Bruins assigned goalkeeper Jeremy Swaman to Providence of the AHL to make room for Rask. Defenseman Tyler Levington was recalled from Providence on an emergency basis. … Bruins defenseman John Moore left the game with an unspecified injury and did not return.
The Canadiens: To complete the first part of a 10-game road trip in Chicago on Thursday night while they try to avoid capacity restrictions related to COVID-19 in Montreal.
Bruins: The Rask’s season is expected to kick off Thursday night in host Philadelphia.