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Canadiens reach 9 unbeaten with win over Bruins

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty scored his ninth goal in the last nine games and the surging Montreal Canadiens stretched their unbeaten run to nine with a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.

Tomas Plekanec also scored for Montreal (18-9-3), which jumped a point ahead of Boston (18-8-2) into first place in the Atlantic Division — although the Bruins have two games in hand. The Canadiens are 8-0-1 in their last nine.

Gregory Campbell scored for Boston, which is 6-2-1 in its past nine.

The first meeting of the season between these bitter rivals had the Bell Centre at top volume to start, but the building got quiet when Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk was wheeled off the ice on a stretcher 4:28 into the game.

Boychuk was injured on a hit by Pacioretty, who got 2 minutes for boarding. Boychuk was able to move all his limbs as he was taken to the hospital, the Bruins said. After the game, coach Claude Julien said Boychuk was released from the hospital and would return to Boston with the team.

Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 32 saves and was especially sharp in the final 20 minutes.

Penguins 5, Sharks 1 Chris Kunitz scored twice during a four-goal second period and Pittsburgh beat San Jose for its fifth straight victory.

Pascal Dupuis, Jayson Megna and Kris Letang also scored for the Penguins, who snapped San Jose's six-game winning streak in a showdown between Stanley Cup contenders. Sidney Crosby added three assists in his 500th career game to push his point total to an NHL-leading 42.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 44 saves for the Penguins against the league's highest-scoring team. Pittsburgh played without star Evgeni Malkin, scratched after sustaining a lower-body injury during the morning skate.

Tomas Hertl got his 14th goal for San Jose. Antti Niemi made 23 saves but was pulled after two periods, and the Sharks lost in regulation for only the fourth time this season.

Rangers 3, Sabres 1 Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to lead New York over Buffalo.

Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello scored for New York, which bounced back from a 5-2 loss to Winnipeg on Monday.

Tyler Ennis scored and Ryan Miller made 28 saves in a loss that drops the Sabres to 3-12-1 at the First Niagara Center.

Lundqvist, playing his first game since signing a seven-year, US$59.5 million contract, was hardly troubled through 40 minutes, but was outstanding in the third period.

Wild 4, Blackhawks 3 Marco Scandella's slap shot with 1:48 left, the defenseman's first goal this season, lifted Minnesota over Chicago.

Jonas Brodin scored on a power play with 5:39 remaining to tie the game for the Wild, who raised their home record to 12-3-2 and handed the Blackhawks their first loss in their past seven road games.

With Charlie Coyle partially screening Corey Crawford at the edge of the crease, Brodin wound up and sent the puck ricocheting off Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya and past the goalie's outstretched glove.

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The puck goes into the net past Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask on a goal by Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec as Milan Lucic, left, and Zdeno Chara look on during second period NHL hockey action in Montreal Thursday, Dec. 5. (AP)

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