The Canadiens were unable to extend their winning streak over the Bruins to seven games.
MONTREAL - It couldn't last forever. After certainly having the Bruins' number of late, the Canadiens couldn't prevent their longtime rivals from leaving the Bell Centre with a victory.
Prior to dropping Monday night's 6-5 decision to the Bruins, the Canadiens had won six straight over their archrivals from Beantown since being beaten 3-1 in Boston on Feb. 2, 2006.
"We knew they would come out strong against us and they did," said Michael Ryder, who scored his seventh goal of the season to cut the lead to 4-2 and cue the Canadiens' comeback that came up just short. "The Bruins always get up to play us and tonight was no different."
After almost coughing up a 4-1 lead, Bruins goalie Tim Thomas served up a scientific explanation as to how Boston still managed to escape with the win.
"None of us were happy to see them storm back tonight," admitted Tim Thomas, who still managed 34 saves for the Bruins. "I guess we can thank the Boston Garden ghosts for helping us win this one, just like the Forum ghosts helped the Canadiens tie the game up."
The last time the Canadiens or the Bruins won seven-straight meetings in this series was back in 1988-89. That year, Montreal's seventh win came courtesy of Guy Carbonneau and Bob Gainey who helped lead the Habs to a 5-2 victory over Raymond Bourque and the Bruins on March 27, 1989 at the Montreal Forum.
No strangers to hot streaks over the course of their brilliant history, the Canadiens longest-ever unbeaten string against the Bruins actually ended on the night the Habs celebrated their 73rd birthday. Over that torrid stretch, the Canadiens rattled off 13 games against the Bruins without a loss (11-0-2) before being downed 6-4 at the Forum on Dec. 4, 1982.
Ironically enough, several players in uniform for the Bruins that night 24 years ago were honored in Monday's pre-game celebration of the Montreal-Boston rivalry. Ray Bourque, Rick Middleton and Wayne Cashman all played a part in snapping the Habs' 13-game mastery of the Bruins with head coach Gerry Cheevers looking on from behind the bench.
The Canadiens and Bruins will do it all over again next Tuesday back in Montreal. And the Boston Garden ghosts are not invited.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com