FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Ray Bourque scored 410 goals in his 22-year NHL career, some of the most memorable coming against the Montreal Canadiens. But the former Boston Bruins defenseman and Quebec native did something Thursday he never had the opportunity to do as a player: He scored a shootout goal when the Bruins defeated the Canadiens at the 2016 Winter Classic Alumni game presented by Molson at Gillette Stadium.
The Bruins trailed by two but rallied to tie, and Bourque's goal, on Boston's fourth shootout attempt, became the game-winner in a 5-4 victory in the final appetizer before the 2016 NHL Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic here Friday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS)
Bourque played all but 94 games of his NHL career with the Bruins. After spending 21 seasons with them from 1979-2000, he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche and won the Stanley Cup in 2001.
"I left [Boston] for a short time, but I've been wearing this jersey for quite a while with the alumni," Bourque said. "And I've traveled all over the Maritimes playing with the alumni and my old teammates. I live 25 minutes from the city and I'm not going anywhere. For me it's always a thrill to wear this jersey."
The Canadiens took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Patrice Brisebois and Alexei Kovalev. Goalie Jose Theodore, who played in the Heritage Classic in 2003, the NHL's first outdoor game, with the Canadiens against the Edmonton Oilers, allowed one goal on 20 shots through two periods. Richard Sevigny played the third period for Montreal.
"To have it come down to a shootout was pretty neat, and you could see it at the end," Bourque said. "Both teams did not want to lose."
Bourque, 55, was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004 and had 1,579 points in 1,612 NHL games. He won the Calder Trophy as the League's top rookie, and won the Norris Trophy as the League's best defenseman five times.
"It was a lot of fun for me, especially, being from Montreal," Bourque said. "I used to go back for the summers back then. … And I got there in 1979, so we didn't have that much success until '87, '88, so for me it was such a nice summer, the summer of '88."
The 1988 Stanley Cup Playoffs were the first time in Bourque's career that the Bruins were able to eliminate the Canadiens, their most fierce rival.
"It's like I say, this town is so passionate about the sports,” Bourque said, pointing to the 42,193 fans on hand. "You know the game tomorrow will be sold out, and everybody pretty much has a ticket to come to this game if they wanted. But I was thinking 20-, 30,000 would be fantastic. To be on the ice and looking up, seeing the amount of people, I thought we'd just have a little dent. It was really -- you could see a big crowd out there, and the atmosphere was great."
Mark Recchi, who played for each team during his 22-year NHL career, played for Boston in this game and had two goals, an assist, and scored in the shootout.
"You don't forget this stuff, " Recchi said. “It's a great feeling being out there in the open atmosphere like that."
Marco Sturm, who scored the game-winning overtime goal in the 2010 Winter Classic against the Philadelphia Flyers, and Sergei Samsonov scored for Boston. Steve Shutt and Donald Audette scored for Montreal.
"It was a big rivalry, and each team wanted to win when he played each other, it didn't matter where, in Montreal or Boston," said Guy Lafleur, one of the Canadiens coaches Thursday. "For us to play that type of game, we could feel that both teams wanted to win and the players were ready for the game. Even if it was a fun game, part of a big event here."
Follow David Satriano on Twitter: @davidsatriano