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The Bear Cave


August 18, 2009 7:55 AM

Top Game #8: A Super Sunday in Montreal

Super Bowl Sunday is highly documented as one of the most anticipated days on the calendar. Unfortunately for the football fans in New England, an early season injury to Tom Brady prevented any sort of celebration for the Patriots. However, the Bruins did their best to give those fans a tasty appetizer prior to the big game. That afternoon, Boston's hockey team ventured up to the Bell Centre for their fifth regular season counter with the Montreal Canadiens. Super Sunday is game number eight on our countdown of the top ten games played by the 2008-09 Boston Bruins.

Along with it being Super Sunday, this tilt between Boston and Montreal had another unique twist, as the Canadiens turned back the clock by wearing uniforms from the 1912-13 season. Although it is always important to honor your history, it's pretty easy to see why those jerseys aren't used today. The combination of blue, white, and red stripes throughout the sweaters created one heck of an eye sore on that Sunday afternoon. NESN's Jack Edwards even referenced a possible comparison to prison uniforms, using the term "inmates" at one point during the television broadcast.

As for the game itself, old time hockey has always been thought of as being a more physical brand, so it was only fitting that a fight would get things started on a day involving vintage uniforms. A little more than one minute in, Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Alex Henry. Henry had played in the NHL before, but this was his first game with Montreal. Thornton quickly welcomed the 6-foot-5 defender to the rivalry, landing some solid punches with both fists.

The scoring began in the late stages of the opening stanza, as Boston's Aaron Ward was whistled for tripping. For the past few seasons, one of the Canadiens' strengths has been a strong power play, and they capitalized on this opportunity. Robert Lang got the puck along the left wing boards, before nudging it back to Andrei Markov at the left point. Markov looked for a shot, but didn't have a great lane, so he passed back to Lang at the edge of the circle. Andrei Kostitsyn and Dennis Wideman were both positioned in front of the Bruins' goal, thus providing a screen for Lang. The Montreal forward used the screen to his advantage, beating Tim Thomas with a wrist shot over the blocker.

The Habs looked as though they would be able to carry that lead into the intermission, as the final seconds ticked away. However, the Bruins had other ideas, and public enemy number one was more than willing to oblige. That player was Montreal's Mike Komisarek, who opted to send a pass through the middle of the ice, rather than a simple bank off of the boards to finish off the period. Dennis Wideman read the mistake perfectly, intercepting the pass just before it reached the blueline. Knowing there was barely any time left, Wideman took a wrist shot from high in the zone, surprising Carey Price with 0.6 seconds left in the frame.

Midway through the second period, Boston looked to its checking line for some energy, and got one better, as the visitors took the lead. Shawn Thornton picked up the puck behind the net, before curling around for a shot from the bottom of the left circle. Price made a routine save, and caught a bit of a break, as Stephane Yelle put a backhander wide to the right. Because there wasn't much power behind Yelle's shot, Byron Bitz was able to gather in the puck behind the cage. When Bitz turned around, he immediately spotted Shawn Thornton on the left side. Bitz hit Thornton with a pass, and the Bruins' tough guy finished the play by squeaking a shot through Price. While the goal did take time to generate, the original play developed from what ended up being another costly turnover by Montreal, as Guillaume Latendresse failed to clear his own zone.

Despite trailing by a goal, the Canadiens were able to put together some tremendous chances, as they searched for the tying goal. Thomas and the defense kept the home team at bay, killing off a two-man advantage during the second period, before making 14 more saves in the third.

With 57 seconds left to play, the Bruins iced their victory. Andrei Kostitsyn carried the puck in the neutral zone, but was stopped at the red line by Marc Savard. After crossing center ice, Savard fired the puck into the vacant Montreal goal.

Tim Thomas was the winning goaltender in the game, stopping 27 of the 28 shots sent his way. Carey Price came up on the short end, making 20 saves on 22 shots.

After going 0-7-1 against the Canadiens during the 2007-08 campaign, the Bruins turned the tables on their rivals last season. This win gave Boston a 4-0-1 record against Montreal, officially clinching the season series.

Of course, the other fun part to that afternoon for fans in New England was the fact that the B's ruined Montreal's attempt at honoring history. Oddly enough, that would be a trend for this version of the Black and Gold, as the 2008-09 Boston Bruins also compiled a perfect 3-0 record when the opposing team held a pregame ceremony to retire a number. The honorees on those nights were: Chicago's Pierre Pilote and Keith Magunson (2-1 on November 12th), Montreal's Patrick Roy (3-2 on Nov. 22), and Carolina's Glen Wesley (5-1 on February 17th).

That concludes the road portion of our journey, as the final seven games on the countdown all took place on Causeway Street. In game number seven, a new Bruin makes his presence felt, while putting an end to a brief skid.

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