Don't ask the Montreal Canadiens about the home-ice advantage. The only ones who had the advantage Wednesday night at the Molson Centre were the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins scored three times on the power play after defenseman Dave Manson was ejected for elbowing Per-Johan Axelsson in the head and went on to a 9-2 romp.
It was one of the Canadiens' worst defeats ever at their nearly three-year-old building.
"That was a cheap shot," Bruins coach Pat Burns said of Manson's smash to Axelsson's jaw behind the Montreal net, a move that will likely draw the Montreal defenseman a suspension under the NHL crackdown on blows to the head.
"He double-pumped his arm and laid right into him. An elbow like that can break a guy's jaw. They're always talking about head injuries. That was pre-planned. They wanted to do it, he wanted to do it and that's unacceptable."
Axelsson lay on the ice for several minutes, but resumed play later in the period.
Montreal coach Alain Vigneault, who had been given a one-year contract extension before the game, was just as angry Burns sent his top power-play unit on for a two-man advantage in the third period.
That produced two goals from Jason Allison to make Boston the first team ever to score five power-play goals against the Canadiens in Montreal.
"It was 7-1 with six minutes left and they send out their top power-play unit," said Vigneault. "He was obviously looking to humiliate us, but I've got a long memory and I'll remember that."
The teams meet again Thursday night in Boston.
"It was an elbow, right?" Axelsson said. ``I don't know. I just saw him coming and then: bang. My head was ringing a little bit."
Vigneault said he didn't blame Manson for the loss.
"It's very easy to point at Dave but I didn't make a case of that," he said. "We win and lose as a team and we all messed up tonight."
Peter Ferraro, Dmitri Khristich and Grant Ledyard scored power-play goals in a 51-second span of the second period after Manson was tossed.
The Bruins already had taken a 3-0 lead in the first period on goals from Ted Donato, Chris Taylor and Sergei Samsonov.
Ferraro added his second of the game in the third period.
Mark Recchi ended Byron Dafoe's bid for a third shutout this season with a goal at 9:50 of the third period. Matt Higgins got his first NHL goal for Montreal with 3:47 left to play.
The Bruins' sixth goal, by Ledyard at 10:00 of the second period, chased starting goaltender Jose Theodore in favor of Jocelyn Thibault, who made let in three more as Montreal outshot Boston 35-34 for the game.
Boston (4-4-1) ended a seven-game road trip.
The Canadiens (3-4-1), who were coming off a 3-0 loss to Detroit on Saturday night, changed their defense pairings for the game and the result was confusion in their own end on three first-period goals.
"Their power play was tremendous and our penalty killing was horrendous," said Recchi. "But the big factor was one-on-one play. They came to play and we didn't. There's no excuse for that."
Theodore had no chance as Donato shot a rebound into an open side at 1:36, Taylor got his first NHL goal in 29 games at 10:00 and Samsonov got his fourth of the season at 19:20.
Ferraro also was alone to shoot into an open side at 9:09 of the second, Khristich deflected in a point shot at 9:34 and Ledyard put a wrist shot under the crossbar at 10:00 as the crowd of 20,372 booed.
Ferraro's screened shot from the high slot beat Thibault 1:41 into the third.
The Bruins were on a two-man advantage when Allison scored from a bad angle at 13:51 and were one man up when Allison slid in a loose puck in the crease at 14:36.
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