The Bruins got the better on both counts -- Milan Lucic scored twice and Nathan Horton had a goal and 4 assists as Boston outslugged and outlasted the Montreal Canadiens in an 8-6 victory on Wednesday night.
It was the Bruins' first win against the Canadiens in four tries this season and increased Boston's lead over the Habs in the Northeast Division to four points.
All-Star Tim Thomas allowed a season-high six goals -- but made up for an off-night in the net by squaring off with Montreal counterpart Carey Price during a second-period fight that left both penalty boxes overflowing and the ice littered with equipment.
"I think we were just play-fighting more than anything," Price said. "Neither of us really wanted to get hurt, but we are out there doing whatever we had to do, I guess."
Max Pacioretty scored two of Montreal's four power-play goals, and Brian Gionta scored his 200th NHL goal as the Canadiens lost in regulation for just the third time in 10 games. P.K. Subban, Yannick Weber and David Desharnais added goals for Montreal.
"Today was a big game. A lot of points were on the line. Important points," Gionta said. "It's just an emotional game, and that's what you saw out there."
The 14 goals were the most scored in a Boston-Montreal game since the Bruins won 8-6 on Dec. 5, 1985.
Thomas stopped 27 shots. Price made 26 saves. The teams combined for 187 penalty minutes, with the Canadiens taking 95 to 87 for the Bruins.
"It was old-time hockey, end to end, scrapping it out," Price said. "It was actually pretty fun to play in, but the end result wasn't what we were looking (for)."
Boston grabbed a 2-0 lead after one period on goals 12 seconds apart by Brad Marchand and Dennis Seidenberg. Montreal tied it when Gionta scored 25 seconds into the second period and Subban tied it with a power-play goal at 8:30 -- starting a run of seven goals in a span of 6:19.
McQuaid put the Bruins back in front at 9:48, but Weber snapped home the first of his career to get the Canadiens even at 11:01.
The tie didn't last long, as Ryder put the Bruins ahead to stay at 11:32 and Lucic got his first of the night and 22nd of the season 59 seconds later.
The Price-Thomas fight highlighted a melee that broke out five seconds after Lucic's goal and saw nine players -- five Bruins and four Canadiens -- banished to the penalty box. Thomas sprinted down the ice and challenged Price, though there was more wrestling than punching.
"He fought with 'fighter's manners,' as far as not hitting you when you're down," Thomas said. "We were just in the All-Star Game together. We're on friendly terms. It was business. But once business is done, it's done."
Montreal came out of the 10-minute melee with a power play and Desharnais connected at 12:48. But Lucic restored the Bruins' two-goal lead at 14:49.
Pacioretty made it a one-goal game with 12:54 left. But just a minute after Michael Ryder's would-be goal was waved off, he scored one that counted and restored Boston's two-goal lead.
Another melee broke out with 41 seconds to play, with eight players squaring off -- four of them receiving game misconducts. The Bruins had just five skaters left on the bench and Montreal six when Pacioretty scored a 5-on-3 goal in the final seconds.
"It doesn't happen too often," Gionta said of the uncharacteristic offensive bonanza between two of the NHL's best defensive teams.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report