BOSTON — David Pastrnak took over the NHL goals lead with a hat trick, and the Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 at TD Garden on Wednesday.
Pastrnak had his fourth hat trick of the season to score his 41st goal and pass Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, who are tied for second with 40.
[WATCH: All Canadiens vs. Bruins highlights]
It is the first time Pastrnak has scored 40 goals in his six NHL seasons.
“Well, obviously you know I’m happy for that,” Pastrnak said. “It’s something that I haven’t accomplished yet in my career, so obviously excited, but I’ve said I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, and big thanks to them and just keep it rolling.”
Brad Marchand had two assists, and Tuukka Rask made 28 saves for the Bruins (35-11-12), who have won seven of eight. Boston has won six straight at TD Garden and has the best home record in the NHL (20-2-9).
Nick Suzuki scored, and Carey Price made 34 saves for the Canadiens (27-25-7), who had won four in a row on the road.
“At times I thought when we were playing fairly well we had opportunities to shoot the puck at the net and we looked at other plays instead,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said. “We need to shoot the puck a little more, we need to go to the net a bit more and be probably a little hungrier in that part of it because the rest of it, we were doing some good things and we’re competing hard but we just weren’t good enough tonight, not good enough to win.”
Pastrnak gave Boston a 1-0 lead at 6:59 of the first period when he scored on a wrist shot after Marchand turned Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry during a drive to the net and drew a second defender to him to get his linemate open.
“We just caught them kind of flat-footed,” Marchand said. “And when I kind of got through, ‘Pasta,’ he was kind of all alone. I knew if I got it over he’d get it in — he doesn’t miss those plays — so luckily he finished it.”
Sean Kuraly led a 2-on-1 and set up Pastrnak, who made it 2-0 at 4:16 of the second period. Suzuki got Montreal within 2-1 at 4:52 when a shot from the blue line by Marco Scandella hit off his body.
Pastrnak completed the hat trick with a power-play goal at 15:45 to make it 3-1. Price stopped Marchand’s one-timer from the right face-off circle but Petry’s clearing attempt went to Pastrnak for a shot from the bottom of the left face-off circle.
Patrice Bergeron scored into an empty net at 19:40 of the third period for the 4-1 final.
“They’re a well-structured team. They play tight, they don’t give up much,” Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher said. “That’s why they are where they are right now. They made it tough on us and we weren’t able to counter it enough to get around their goalie. And obviously once they scored the first goal, they’re comfortable in this building.”
They said it
“I feel like [Pastrnak] has the total package. He’s fast, he’s got a great shot, good hands. And I mean that line just clicks, so they find each other out there and we just had to do a better job of containing them and not giving them those chances, especially off the rush. You’ve got to make them earn it better than that.” — Canadiens defenseman Marco Scandella on Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron
“He’s really become an elite player in the League. You know, just the fact that he’s able to continue to find ways to score when teams are really zoning in on him, it’s very impressive. There are very few guys in the League that can do that and he consistently puts up with the abuse and guys shadowing him, and you know his ability to score in different situations, it’s very impressive. Even his defensive game is continuing to come along and he cares about that aspect, he wants to win and he’s a great teammate, so he’s going to be a [heck] of a player for a long time.” — Bruins forward Brad Marchand on David Pastrnak
Need to know
Suzuki has nine points (three goals, six assists) in his past nine games. … Pastrnak has eight hat tricks in the regular season and one in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 23-year-old joins Ovechkin as the second active player to score nine hat tricks (regular season and playoffs) prior to his 24th birthday. Wayne Gretzky had 36. … Pastrnak is the first Bruins player to score 40 goals since Glen Murray scored 44 in 2002-03. … Pastrnak has played 58 games this season, the fewest to score 40 goals in a season for the Bruins since Cam Neely in 1993-94 (36 games). … Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara played in his 1,541st NHL game to move past Shane Doan and Johnny Bucyk into 16th on the all-time list. … Bruins forward Anders Bjork played his 100th NHL game. … Bruins forward Joakim Nordstrom had four hits in 13:51 after missing four games beause of a medical condition.
Canadiens: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ATTSN-PT, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV)
Bruins: Host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, NESN, FS-D, NHL.TV)