"He's a great player, that goes without saying," said Coach Mike Sullivan. "What most people don't know about him is the type of guy that he is and what he brings to our team. As far as his whole professionalism and his approach, he's been invaluable to our team. I think everybody realizes how good of a player he is."
The game certainly lived up to its billing and will only get better when the rivalry renews six more times this season.
The Bruins got on the board first as P.J. Axelsson got the first goal of the period with shear aggression and the will to get to the puck first. Axelsson made the initial shot, circled the net, collected his rebound and rightfully deposited it over the shoulder of the Canadiens goaltender Jose Theodore. The goal was unassisted at 5:28 into the first period.
The second goal came just a few minutes later on a power play goal by veteran defenseman, Brian Leetch. Leetch saw the play generate, quickly slid to the left side of the net and picked up the puck off a deflection from a Sergei Samsonov shot. Leetch promptly one-timed the puck into the back of the twine for the second goal of the period, giving the B's a 2-0 lead.
The second period was filled with speed and transition. Boston played hard but lost some momentum as the period matured. Montreal's Michael Ryder tallied a power play goal at 5:17 into the second on a backhander over the shoulder of Bruins goaltender Andrew Raycroft. 13:52 into the period, Saku Koivu made good on a 2-on-1 with teammate Alexander Perezhogin to tie the game at 2-2.
That didn't matter much because two minutes later Nick Boynton fired a slap shot to re-take the lead on a power play goal at 15:43. Dave Scatchard won the face-off back to Brian Leetch. Leetch pivoted, put a pass on Boynton's stick and the puck was quickly shot on goal and in the net. That gave Boston a 3-2 lead and Brian Leetch's 1,000th career NHL point.
The Habs tied the game on a power play goal in the third by Mike Ribeiro at 2:02, then snagged the go ahead goal off a rebound from a shot from blue-liner Sheldon Souray with just over ten minutes remaining. The Bruins had several scoring opportunities in the final minutes of the game, but late penalties helped to seal the Canadiens 4-3 victory.
Andrew Raycroft, despite recording the loss, continued to be solid in net, making 34 saves on 38 shots.
The Bruins return home on Thursday night to face the Buffalo Sabres. Don't forget to get your tickets now. It's
Fan Appreciation Night and you have the opportunity to win a brand new Ford Mustang.