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BOSTON (AP) -Phil Kessel had two goals and an assist, and Zdeno Chara scored with 8:45 left to break a third-period tie and give the Boston Bruins a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night in the opener of their first-round playoff series.

Tim Thomas stopped 26 shots for the Bruins, who are the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference but haven't gotten out of the first round in a decade.

Carey Price made 35 saves for the Canadiens.

Kessel and David Krejci gave Boston a 2-0 lead before Montreal tied it on goals by Chris Higgins and Alex Kovalev. Kessel made it 4-2 with 13.4 seconds left on an empty-netter on a pass from Milan Lucic, a goal that prompted a round of fisticuffs that continued after the final whistle.

Montreal and Boston have met an NHL-record 32 times in the playoffs, with the Canadiens winning 24 times, including last year when they had the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference but needed seven games to get out of the first round.

DETROIT (AP) - Jonathan Ericsson was credited with the go-ahead goal for Detroit with 6:39 left in the second period on a shot that Manny Malhotra redirected into his own net trying to stop the puck with his glove

Jiri Hudler, Nicklas Kronwall and Johan Franzen also scored for Stanley Cup champion Detroit, and Chris Osgood made 20 saves, allowing only R.J. Umberger's goal.

Columbus Rookie Steve Mason stopped the first 21 shots he faced before giving up three goals in a five-shot stretch. He finished with 30 saves.

Game 2 is Saturday night in Detroit.

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