MONTREAL - It was a wild one, but the Canadiens held on to beat the top team in the League 5-4 on Tuesday night, snapping the Boston Bruins' six-game winning streak in the process.
The game was a momentous occasion in the milestones department at both ends of the ice. Habs head coach Claude Julien was manning the bench for the 1,200th time at the NHL level, and got to do so against the team he coached for 10 seasons and won the Stanley Cup with in 2011.
On the other side, Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was playing the 1,500th game of his career, making him the 21st player in League history to crack the mark.
The Habs were trying to contain the Bruins' high-powered offense, and countered Boston's attack with an early goal of their own. After a nifty passing play between Max Domi and Jeff Petry led to a shot towards the net, defenseman Victor Mete pinched and buried the puck to give Montreal a 1-0 lead just 1:13 after the opening faceoff.
Later in the period, the Bruins replied while Mete was in the box, with David Pastrnak rifling a one-timer past Carey Price to even the score at 1-1.
The Habs didn't wait long to reply, however. Brendan Gallagher sent Tomas Tatar flying into Boston's end with a beautiful backhanded pass from the neutral zone, and the Slovak winger unleashed a powerful flick-shot to give Montreal a 2-1 lead.
They weren't done there, either. Just 0:31 after the Tatar tally, Paul Byron picked up the puck just before it would've crossed over the blue line, skated it in and beat Bruins starter Tuukka Rask for his first of the season.
After 20, the Canadiens were outshooting the Bruins 13-6 and led 3-1.
The score remained the same until 7:17 into the middle frame, when Connor Clifton cut Montreal's lead to one. It was Boston's first shot of the period.
With just under two minutes to go in the second stanza, the Bruins evened things up when Anders Bjork picked up a rebound in the crease and scored.
Once again, the Canadiens didn't take long to respond, and it was Mete once again. The third-year rearguard, who had scored his first NHL goal just a few weeks prior, wristed it from the point and beat Rask through some traffic to put the Habs ahead 4-3 only 42 seconds after the Bruins had tied things up.
That's where the score would stand after 40 minutes, and the shot count held up at 25-15 for the home team.
In the final frame, the Bruins once again tied it up when Sean Kuraly jammed the puck past Price from in close after the Canadiens had successfully killed of a penalty to Shea Weber to open the period.
Not long afterwards, the Bruins thought they had their first lead of the night when they slipped one by Price in the slot, but the Canadiens used their coach's challenge and the tally was called back after a lengthy video review determined the play was offside.
With 10:54 to go in regulation, Ben Chiarot accepted a pass near the faceoff dot, patiently picked his spot and wristed it past Rask, making it 5-4 Montreal.