The Bruins were 37 seconds into their clash with Montreal at the Garden yesterday when the collective air of 17,565 fans temporarily escaped the building.

The Canadiens were making a play in the Bruins zone when Habs right winger Brendan Gallagher attempted a retaliatory tomahawk chop to the right foot of defenseman Charlie McAvoy.

The chop missed its target but McAvoy tripped over Gallagher’s stick and fell awkwardly to the ice. The rookie exited the ice in obvious pain and had to be helped down the tunnel to the locker room. McAvoy did not return and his status for Tuesday night’s encounter with Detroit is uncertain.

“Lower body and obviously didn’t return,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “(Today) is a scheduled day off so everybody will be off and (tomorrow) when we get back to the rink we will have a better idea of where he’s at so that’s all I’ve got.

“Hopefully it is not serious and it didn’t look serious at the time but I don’t really know.”

Cassidy had to reconfigure his defense pairings. He initially reunited team captain Zdeno Chara with Brandon Carlo in a rotation that included Torey Krug, Nick Holden and Kevan Miller. Carlo and Chara worked together exclusively all of last season.

“Clearly we had some issues moving the puck out of the zone and Charlie is a transporter, he’s a mover and passes and all of the above,” said Cassidy.

“That’s now 23 minutes a night that you have to parse out for the next 59 minutes with five guys.”

Khudobin up to task

Cassidy turned to Anton Khudobin to start in place of Tuukka Rask against the Canadiens. The move was not without risks because Rask had beaten the Habs three times in January, while Khudobin was 0-4-0 lifetime against Montreal.

Khudobin justified the move by recording 27 saves in the 2-1 overtime victory. Khudobin stifled several odd-man rushes and robbed right winger Alex Galchenyuk with a spectacular glove save in the second period.

“He’s a pretty good shooter but at the same time he gave me a shot,” said Khudobin. “I saw the puck and I kind of read where he was going to shoot it. They are a pretty fast team”

Gallagher was the only Hab to beat Khudobin, converting a neutral zone turnover by Miller into his 23rd goal of the season at 9:16 of the first.

Power outages

Jake DeBrusk’s power-play goal with 2:45 left in regulation salvaged what would have been a dreadful night for the Bruins.

The Bruins were 1-for-6 on the power play, including a fruitless 5-on-3 situation over 41 seconds in the second period. The B’s also squandered two man-advantage chances to tie the game early in the third.

“We had a handful of power plays there and we got some decent looks that just weren’t connecting,” said DeBrusk.

The Bruins were much better on the penalty kill, squelching all four of the Canadiens’ chances. …

Cassidy had rookie Danton Heinen back in the lineup after sitting out Thursday’s game vs. Pittsburgh. He replaced Tommy Wingels on the third line.

Close connection

Montreal coach Claude Julien became a big fan of newly acquired Bruins right winger Brian Gionta during their one season (2006-2007) together in New Jersey.

Julien developed a deeper respect for Gionta’s game during the intense battles between the Bruins and the Canadiens earlier this decade. Gionta played for Montreal from 2009-14, and served as team captain during Julien’s best years as the Bruins head coach.

“I’m happy for him, he’s a good little player and he was a (Montreal) captain and well respected,” said Julien. “He was the ultimate pro on and off the ice.”

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