David Pastrnak scored his second hat trick of the season to give the conference-leading Boston Bruins an 8-1 beatdown over the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday night.
Jake Debrusk, Brad Marchand, Anders Bjork, Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen also scored for the Bruins (16-3-5), who have won four straight.
Marchand, Coyle, David Krejci and Torey Krug notched two assists apiece while Sean Kuraly had three.
Captain Shea Weber scored the only goal for the Canadiens (11-8-5), who have lost five straight games.
WATCH | Pastrnak catches fire to lead Bruins past Canadiens:
Bruins backup Jaroslav Halak made 36 saves and improved to 6-0-0 against Carey Price, his former teammate in Montreal.
Price gave up five goals on 11 shots before being pulled in the second period. Keith Kinkaid stopped 10-of-13 shots in relief.
Boston extended its point streak to eight games (5-0-3) and jumped ahead of Washington atop the Eastern Conference standings.
Claude Julien made no changes to a Canadiens team that blew a four-goal lead and lost 6-5 to the New York Rangers last Saturday.
Price gave up six goals on 34 shots to the Rangers and struggled even more against the Bruins, who were without Patrice Bergeron (lower-body injury).
A nice give-and-go led to Debrusk’s opener on the power play at 8:03 of the first period before Weber tied the game at 12:41 on a rebound at the side of the net.
That’s when Pastrnak got to work on his seventh career hat trick.
The NHL’s leading goal scorer beat Price with a one-timer on the power play at 14:24 for Boston’s second tally on five shots.
Marchand made it 3-1 on a bad giveaway by Jeff Petry behind his own net with 37 seconds remaining in the first — the winger’s 600th NHL point. Price conceded three goals on eight shots in the first.
Pastrnak’s goal eight seconds into the second period sealed Montreal’s fate and Bjork gave Boston a 5-1 lead on a breakaway a minute later.
Julien took a timeout and pulled Price from the game — the first time that has happened since Dec. 9, 2017 — but the onslaught continued.
Pastrnak completed his hat trick when he deflected Brandon Carlo’s shot past Kinkaid at 9:06 of the second. Pastrnak has 23 goals in 24 games this year.
Coyle made it 7-1 on a one-timer at 8:26 of the third as Canadiens fans left Bell Centre en masse. Heinen added an eighth for Boston with 2:02 left in the game.
The Bruins are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games versus Montreal. The teams meet again in Boston on Sunday for the third of four encounters this season.