Canadiens rub salt in Bruins’ wound


MONTREAL (AP) – Chris Higgins scored and the Montreal Canadiens finished with three power-play goals in a 5-3 win over Boston on Tuesday night to sweep a two-game set against the Bruins at the Bell Centre.

Montreal, which beat Boston 2-0 Saturday to eliminate the Bruins from playoff contention, won its seventh straight game.

Jan Bulis, Michael Ryder and Saku Koivu scored power-play goals and Aaron Downey added another at even strength following Higgins’ tally as the Canadiens tied New Jersey for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 87 points. Montreal is two points ahead of Tampa Bay, which currently holds the eighth and final playoff spot, and nine ahead of ninth-place Atlanta.

Koivu scored Montreal’s third power-play goal 3:48 into the third on a 5-on-3 to tie it after Boston’s Marco Sturm scored 34 seconds into the period to put the Bruins up 3-2.

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron scored twice and set up Sturm’s go-ahead goal as Boston finally scored against Cristobal Huet. Bergeron opened the scoring 19 seconds into the second period, ending Huet’s shutout string against Boston at 237 minutes, 39 seconds. The Canadiens goalie recorded his seventh shutout of the season – his third in a row against the Bruins – in Saturday’s 2-0 win in the opener of the two-game set. Glen Murray assisted on both of Bergeron’s goals as he returned to the Bruins’ lineup after missing Saturday’s game because of the flu.

Bulis, who was a healthy scratch for five of Montreal’s previous six games, tied it with his 18th goal on a power play at 2:22. The Canadiens took a 2-1 lead with the man advantage at 13:24 on Michael Ryder’s team-leading 29th goal but Bergeron squared it at 2 with his second of the period.

on another power play at 14:31.

Notes: Bruins D Brian Leetch returned to the lineup after missing Saturday’s game because of a head injury he suffered in Wednesday’s 4-3 loss in Buffalo. Leetch fell into an open bench doorway after he was high-sticked by Sabres C Daniel Briere, who was given a two-game suspension by the league the following day. … Canadiens RW Richard Zednik was a healthy scratch. … Montreal has sold out each of its 37 home games.

AP-ES-04-04-06 2215EDT