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Thornton scores in second period to lift Bruins over Canadiens 3-1

NHL.com @NHL

MONTREAL - Shawn Thornton's second-period goal stood up as the game-winner as the Boston Bruins continued their mastery of the NHL Eastern Conference with a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday afternoon.

Dennis Wideman scored in the first period and Marc Savard added an empty-net goal for Boston (37-8-6), which leads the conference by 13 points and is the first NHL team to reach the 80-point mark for the season. It was only Boston's second win in its last 15 games in Montreal since October, 2006.

Robert Lang scored for slumping Montreal (28-16-6), which has one win in its last six games and now trails Boston by 18 points in the Northeast Division.

The Canadiens skated out in their bizarre uniforms from the 1912-23 season featuring red, white and blue horizontal stripes, which Alex Kovalev likened to pajamas, and proceeded to play some old-time hitting hockey against their Original Six rivals.

The game was only 1:06 when big defenceman Alex Henry, called up Saturday morning from AHL Hamilton, dropped the gloves with Thornton.

Lang opened the scoring on a power play at 18:18 when he moved in off the left boards and beat Tim Thomas with a high shot.

But a poor clearing attempt allowed Boston to tie it with less than one second left in the period as Wideman's screened shot from near the blue-line eluded Carey Price.

Montreal was hemmed in its own zone by the Bruins' fourth line when Francis Bouillon lost his stick and rookie Byron Bitz fed Thornton in front for a goal 8:02 into the second frame.

Savard scored in a fourth straight game when he got the empty-netter with 57 seconds left to play.

Lang left the game 8:33 into the third period with what appeared to be a left leg or ankle injury after checking Stephane Yelle into the boards.

Both teams played Saturday, with Boston winning 1-0 over the New York Rangers behind a Tukka Rask shutout and Montreal pulling off a last-minute 4-3 win at home over Los Angeles to end a four-game losing streak.

The Canadiens have played afternoon games on Super Bowl weekend for the last 20 years. They are 22-14-4 in those games.

Notes - The Canadiens called up six-foot-six Henry to replace Josh Gorges, who had his bell rung by a flying elbow from Los Angeles King Denis Gauthier on Saturday. Gorges missed his first game of the season. ... Veteran Patrice Brisebois also sat out in favour of Ryan O'Byrne and Steve Begin sat out while Sergei Kostitsyn returned to the lineup. . . Lang was named Montreal's player of the month for January. . . Petteri Nokelainen, Matt Hunwick and Manny Fernandez didn't dress for Boston.

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