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16 moments to remember from the 2016 Winter Classic

by Dan Rosen / NHL.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic is in the record books and it will forever go down as, simply, a 5-1 win for the Montreal Canadiens against the Boston Bruins at Gillette Stadium.

That the outcome means as much in the standings as the other 1,229 games on the NHL's regular season schedule is part of the charm of the League's now-annual New Year's Day event. But to experience it is something altogether different and special.

Since 2008, the Winter Classic has provided the NHL and hockey fans everywhere with indelible moments and incredible images that speak to the true spectacle that the event has become. The 2016 edition was no different.

Here are 16 of the best moments, big and small, of the eighth NHL Winter Classic:

1. Festive introductions

The Bruins and Canadiens came out through their respective tunnels, walking on rubber mats and between stanchions that featured fire shooting to the sky. They stood together, side by side, behind the benches and in-between musicians from the Boston Pops.

On the opposite stage, behind the penalty boxes, bands performed for the 67,246 in attendance, with Montreal-based band Simple Plan delivering their sped-up version of "O Canada." On the other side, between the front of the player lines, Jordan Smith performed the "Star Spangled Banner" that was capped by a C-130J flyover.

The picture was completed by the Canadian and American flags being held and spread across each side of the ice.

"It was really, really cool," Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban said.

2. Subban's pregame outfit

Subban promised a special look for the Winter Classic. He delivered.

Subban walked into Gillette Stadium with a broad-lapelled fur-collared overcoat, a brown plaid patterned suit, a brown tie with light polka dots and a broad-rimmed burgundy fedora.

"That was a fresh hat, fresh outfit," Subban said. "The whole outfit was fresh."

He also wore three pairs of special edition skates that featured his number 76, Jean Beliveau's number 4, and his personalized logo on the back. One pair was won by a fan through a raffle that raised $50,000 for the Montreal Children's Hospital. Subban said he'll likely keep a pair for himself and he might the third for more fundraising.

3. Coach skate

Before going on the ice with his team for practice on Thursday, Bruins coach Claude Julien got to take a twirl and share a moment with a special friend, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Belichick had Julien out to Patriots practice on Wednesday, so Julien returned the favor on Thursday after Belichick told him he'd love to get on the ice. The Bruins got Belichick a pair of skates, gloves and a stick, and the two championship coaches hit the ice.

Belichick, though, fell twice. Julien blamed it on "stiff skates."

"It was just about getting used to it," Julien said. "From what I saw from him, to be honest, was the second he put his skates on to how he finished, he improved quite a bit. I wish my players could improve that quickly."

4. Condon's mask

In addition to being the Canadiens' starting goalie in the Winter Classic, Mike Condon, who is from nearby Holliston, Mass., is a die-hard Patriots fan. He paid homage to the Patriots on the back of his mask with images of Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady, and the four Vince Lombardi trophies they have won together.

Condon's mask gained significant value Thursday, when Belichick and Brady autographed the back of the mask and personalized it to Condon.

Condon wore the mask and made 25 saves to win the Winter Classic.

"I'm pretty sure anything that Tom Brady touches turns to gold," Condon said. "So I was pretty happy. Hopefully got some mojo on my helmet there."

5. Jealous Subban on getting snubbed by Brady

Subban also wanted Brady's autograph. He made that very well known on Thursday. But he didn't get it, nor did he hesitate to express the jealousy he harbors toward Condon.

"I'm a little rattled about that, but you know what, he's a hometown guy," Subban said. "I'm a [Dallas] Cowboys fan anyways. You know what, Tom doesn't want to sign me anything, so be it. Whatever. The Cowboys are better anyways."

Subban was then asked if he'd prefer to have Dallas quarterback Tony Romo's autograph.

"Tony Romo, I'm not going to go and say Tony Romo's better, but I've met Tony and he's a nice guy," Subban said. "He would have signed something for me, so…"

6. Julien's hoodie

Julien built on the storyline between him and Belichick by stealing his look and wearing a gray Bruins hoodie, complete with the cutoff sleeves, along with a Bruins toque with a pompom on top for the game.

Julien prepared a few reporters after practice on Thursday for his look, saying he had a surprise in store for his gameday outfit. Considering his friendship with Belichick and the fact that he was the home coach at Gillette Stadium, the hoodie was the only way to go.

7. Condon and the Habs' ride to Foxborough

Ted Condon is not only the father of Mike Condon, he is also a Massachusetts state policeman, a sergeant in the Violent Fugitive Apprehension section. On Thursday, his assignment was a little simpler, and no doubt memorable.

Ted, in full uniform, gun at his hip, led the motorcade that escorted the Canadiens' team bus, with his son on it, from Boston to Gillette Stadium. His other son, Zach, was along for the ride.

"Tomorrow, he definitely has a day off," Condon said after practice Thursday, "so he'll be tailgating."

8. Gallagher's triumphant return

When Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher was forced out of the lineup on Nov. 22 with two fractured fingers on his left hand, there was curiosity about how much the Canadiens would miss their emotional, heart-and-soul type player with the dual ability as a goal-scorer and agitator.

Montreal went 3-0-1 in its first four games without him but lost 11 of its next 13, making it apparent that Gallagher's absence created a hole in the lineup.

Gallagher plugged that hole Friday and delivered with a goal and an assist in the 5-1 win. He played on his regular line, with Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec, and coach Michel Therrien commented on how he was finally able to slot his forwards into their proper role.

"I like the combination with our lines, the way we were able to set it up," Therrien said. "It was tougher lately, but the fact that [Gallagher] is back certainly is going to help."

9. Talbot skates with his son

The Bruins' family skate on Wednesday took on a special meaning for forward Max Talbot because it was the first time he got his 22-month old son Jaxson on skates and on the ice. Talbot, who was involved in his fourth Winter Classic, said being with his son on the ice was his new favorite Winter Classic memory.

"By far," Talbot said.

10. Theodore dons the toque, again

Montreal alumni goalie Jose Theodore brought back memories of his look in the NHL's original outdoor game, the 2003 Heritage Classic, by wearing a Canadiens' Winter Classic toque on top of his mask for the 2016 Winter Classic Alumni Game presented by Molson on Thursday.

Theodore famously wore a red-and-blue toque on top of his mask at Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 22, 2003, when he made 34 saves for the Canadiens in a 4-3 win against the Edmonton Oilers. It was the coldest game ever played in the NHL, with a game-time temperature of minus-22 degrees Fahrenheit.

Theodore said he had a lot of requests to bring the toque back, but he couldn't wear the original one because that's in the Hall of Fame. But he got a new one from a Canadiens' trainer and brought back some memories.

11. Nilan spreads the love

Former NHL enforcer Chris Nilan came onto the ice for the Alumni Game in what only be described as a jersey foul, at least in Boston and Montreal.

Nilan wore a half-and-half jersey for warmups; the front was the Canadiens' Winter Classic jersey, the back was the back of the Bruins' Winter Classic jersey. Nilan played for each, though he spent the majority of his 12-year career in Montreal.

He took off his half-and-half jersey after warmups and played for the Canadiens in the game.

12. Bourque scores shootout winner

Former Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque never had a chance to show his shootout skills during his Hall of Fame career. The shootout didn't come into the NHL until the 2005-06 season; Bourque retired in 2001 after winning the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche.

However, Bourque got his chance to deke and dangle the Bruins to a win in the Alumni Game and he did it successfully, scoring the shootout winner on Boston's fourth attempt in front of 42,193 fans at Gillette Stadium.

After the game, Bourque, who played all but 94 of his 1,612 NHL games for the Bruins, proclaimed his love for Boston and its hockey team.

"I bleed black and gold," Bourque said. "For me, it's always a thrill to wear this jersey."

13. Milbury's return to glory

As he was walking back into the Bruins' alumni dressing room following the 5-4 shootout win on Thursday, NBC analyst Mike Milbury, who was one of Boston's coaches in the game, delivered a classic line in passing to the assembled media.

"Outcoached 'em again," Milbury said as he breezed into the dressing room.

Milbury coached the Bruins for two seasons (1989-91). He led them to the Presidents' Trophy and the Stanley Cup Final in his first season, and to the Wales Conference Final in 1991. The Bruins beat Montreal in the Adams Division Final in both seasons.

14. McVie and his hat

Former NHL coach Tom McVie, who also served as a coach for the Bruins in the Alumni Game, wore a fedora while he was on the bench to look the part of an old-time hockey guy. McVie is 80 and still scouts for the Bruins.

Upon being complimented on his headgear by a Boston-based reporter, McVie, in his gravelly voice, said, "Thanks, Punch Imlach gave it to me."

Imlach, a Hall of Fame coach who won the Stanley Cup four times with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1960s, passed away more than 28 years ago, which gives you an idea of the age of McVie's fedora.

15. Perfect conditions

It was overcast and 40.6 degrees Fahrenheit at puck drop on Friday, perfect conditions for outdoor hockey. The players certainly noticed, because after the game many of them commented on how much they appreciated the quality of the ice.

"As a player in the NHL, I'm very happy with the way the NHL prepared the ice," Subban said. "[Thursday] it wasn't great; [Friday] it felt better than some NHL rinks on some nights. It was hard. It was fast. The ice was not a factor in the game. If anything, it complemented the game."

16. Baseball-themed goals at a football stadium

The way the majority of the goals were scored Friday made it feel like the Bruins and Canadiens should have been playing at Fenway Park instead of Gillette Stadium. Five of the six goals were scored off of pucks being batted out of the air, short hops and bounces that got through the goalies like a wicked hop would go through the legs of a shortstop.

Montreal's David Desharnais took a baseball swing to knock the puck into the net for his goal. Paul Byron scored his first goal because he was in the right place to receive the puck after Brian Flynn reached out his stick to knock it down in the slot the way an infielder would knock down a hard hit ball before picking it up to throw to first base.

Gallagher batted the puck into the net after Pacioretty batted a pass to him. Pacioretty's goal was set up with a bouncing saucer pass from Gallagher. He had to time his shot perfectly in order to swing and knock the puck into the goal.

Bruins forward Matt Beleskey scored on a deflection that bounced off the ice and went through Condon. An official scorer in baseball would have still ruled it an error on the goalie.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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