By John Bishop, BostonBruins.comMontreal, Quebec
– The Bruins gave their fans something to cheer about on Tuesday evening as they bounced back from a disappointing loss in their first exhibition game and defeated their arch-rival, the Montreal Canadiens, 5-2, in the Bell Centre before a crowd of 20,265.
Boston exploded for three goals in the first period, added one in the second, and one in the third as the Bruins more than made up for their lack of offense in their pre-season opener.
Boston's goaltenders also continued their strong play as goalie Tim Thomas
kept his club firmly in the lead, making 18 saves, while allowing only one goal in 40 minutes of play.
Thomas, who was one of Boston's bright lights last season, also stopped a second period penalty shot from Guillaume Latendresse, putting an exclamation point on a nearly flawless performance.
With Habs defenseman Craig Rivet in the box for a double-minor (hooking, cross-checking), Marco Sturm opened the scoring for the Bruins at 10:35 in the first period, off assists from Phil Kessel and Zdeno Chara
Mark Mowers, who has had an excellent training camp, scored on Rivet's second penalty, beating Montreal goaltender Cristobal Huet into a yawning net with help from Brad Stuart and Petr Kalus at 11:23.
Boston kept control of the score sheet when Belmont's Paul Mara scored his own power play goal (assists to Kessel, Sturm) at 19:42.
With Boston's Nathan Dempsey in the box for a holding call, the Habs fought back early in the second when Michael Ryder beat Thomas with help from Saku Koivu and Christopher Higgins at 1:32.
The Canadiens momentum was short lived, however, as Zdeno Chara
scored his first goal while wearing the Black and Gold -- an even strength goal, with assists going to P.J. Axelsson and Yan Stastny.
Montreal goaltender Carey Price entered the game at 9:42 of the second and was Montreal's best player on the evening, keeping the Bruins scoreless for the remainder of the period.
Again, the Canadiens attempted a comback as Latendresse scored at 6:38 of the third (from Radek Bonk and Andrei Markov), but Marco Sturm shut the door at 12:20 with an unassisted goal.
Phil Kessel, playing in his first pro contest, looked sharp with two assists, but was characteristically nonplussed following the win.
"It went alright," said Kessel of his first game with the Bruins. "We won, and that was the main goal.
"I played my game and kept it simple," said Kessel who also credited the veterans on the club for his easy transition into the NHL.
"They are great players," Kessel said. "And it is a lot easier when you play with great players.
"It was a great crowd and I thought it was a lot of fun out there."
The Bruins return to the Bell Centre tomorrow evening for a rematch with the Habs and continue in the preseason with a 1-1-0 record. The Canadiens are 0-1-0.Three Stars
as chosen by the Montreal Media:
Phil Kessel, 3rd Star
Guillaume Latendresse, 2nd Star
Marco Sturm, 1st Star