The Bruins got better as the game went on last night, but not good enough to win the game and take first place in the Northeast Division from the Montreal Canadiens.

The B’s fell behind by two goals early in the second period and wound up losing to the Canadiens, 2-1, at the Bell Centre, squandering a great opportunity to tie the game in the final minute.

When the Canadiens’ Lars Eller made the incredibly bad decision to reach out and grab defenseman Zdeno Chara in the Bruins zone with 56.4 seconds left in regulation, the visitors went on a power play that became a 6-on-4 advantage after goalie Tuukka Rask was pulled for the extra attacker. On the power play, the Bruins tried for the perfect shot — and didn’t even get off a bad one.

Jaromir Jagr, left holding the puck at the end, conceded he lost track of the time. David Krejci complained about “(expletive) ice” that thwarted an exchange with Chara. All coach Claude Julien knew was that if you don’t shoot the puck, you’re not going to score.

“You’ve got to be a little hungrier if you want to tie the game,” said Julien, whose team now trails the Canadiens by three points with a game in hand. “In the whole game, that was probably the most disappointing part for me, that we didn’t get a shot on net.”

Julien entered the game with the same lines from Thursday night’s win against the New Jersey Devils, including Tyler Seguin centering Jagr and Brad Marchand. Not long into this one, the coach went with Plan B.

The Seguin trio was on the ice for the first Montreal goal at 6:49 of the first period, a play on which rookie defenseman Matt Bartkowski gave the puck away and then had an Alex Galchenyuk shot from behind the goal line bounce off him in the crease and end up in the net. The Seguin-Jagr-Marchand unit had one more shift on which the puck was turned over four times in the defensive zone and then that was it for that experiment.

Julien put Rich Peverley between Seguin and Marchand and moved Jagr to a line with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille. The changes seemed to stabilize things, at least in the defensive zone.