Refusing to be intimidated in their own building, the Canadiens stood up to Boston thuggery and skated to a 52-shot 7-4 win.
The only cloud in an otherwise bright blue sky is the ankle injury that Christopher Higgins sustained in the first period.
He returned to action but was not in the Canadiens’ dressing room after the game and will undergo a thorough examination on Sunday.
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The two teams may have played like the Hatfields and McCoy’s but First Star Alex Kovalev rejects the notion of a bitter rivalry between the Canadiens and Bruins,.
"You guys keep talking about a rivalry," Kovalev told the media horde in the winning dressing room. "But it was like any other game.
"The most important thing for us, after last night (in Buffalo), was to recover and play like we did at the beginning of the season."
Did he relish the wide-open style of a game that included a whopping 88 shots on goal?
"As long as we’re winning, that’s the kind of game I like," Kovalev said.
Anecdotal evidence sugests it wasn’t the kind of game Kirk Muller liked. When the Bruins fell behind and began to goon it up, Muller – according to CTV Sports’ Brian Wilde – yelled at Claude Julien "you’re a @#$%ing joke."
Not much to laugh at as the Bruins – being blown out of the building – picked fights all over the ice.
Zdeno Chara’s stats say it all: one goal, one assist, five shots, five hits (including a head shot on Kovalev) 25 minutes in penalties.
Professorial demeanour notwithstanding, former Canadiens coach Julien seems deeply in touch with his inner Michel Therrien.
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It was the first time Canadiens have topped 50 shots since April, 1996. Their record is 61, and the record for two teams is 93.
Michael Ryder, back on the top line, had 13 shots – none of which went
in. Canadiens got goals from seven players – including Mike Komisarek
and Roman Hamrlik and non-snipers Tom Kostopoulos and Guillaume
Koivu, Andrei Kostitsyn and Kovalev (with his team-leading 10th) got
the others … on a night when the guys in the red jerseys could have
scored a dozen (at least three by Christopher Higgins.)
Perhaps the most amazing stat: Canadiens had an edge in faceoffs: 38-36.