In what was perhaps the closest game of the season between these two clubs, the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2 in a shootout, to complete the 8-0 season sweep.
Despite the absence of juggernaut defenseman Mike Komisarek, the rest of the Habs stepped up and beat the Bruins with their own style of game, hard-nosed and gritty.
If every member of Les Glorieux played with the passion and tenacity of third liner Steve Begin, a parade down St. Catherine street in June would be a guarantee. The hard hitting forward made his first start since being sidelined with a shoulder injury several weeks ago, and it was evident that he was anxious to return.
In a mere 9 minutes of ice time Begin managed 2 hard shots, 8 thundering hits and 1 doozy of a fight. In an attempt to silence his critics, Michael Ryder also played an impressively physical game and set up numerous scoring opportunities.
The game was fairly even with Boston posting 35 shots and Montreal with 32, however the Habs turned up the heat late in the game. Even with a barrage of shots and numerous scrambles in front of the Boston net, Tim Thomas stood his ground and forced a shootout.
After three consecutive saves by Montreal goaltender Carey Price, it was up to Habs Captain Saku Koivu to finnish the job, and he did not disappoint. Koivu abandoned his patented head-fake deke and beat Thomas through the five-hole with a tricky back-hander. His fancy game-winner rightfully earned him the first star of the game.
With the win the Canadiens broke their previous streak of 10 consecutive wins over the Bruins, but more importantly continue to maintain sole possession of first place in the East. The victory also allowed the habs to achieve a 5 point lead over their division rivals, the Ottawa Senators.
The Senators visit Montreal Monday night in a game that can either tighten the division race, or put it out of reach.