What had been a free-flowing game for 40 minutes got ugly in the third period, as the gloves dropped and the Montreal Canadiens scored three goals to defeat the Boston Bruins 7-4.
The Canadiens fired 52 shots at Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas on the night, with 25 coming in the third period.
Seven different Canadiens tallied goals.
Canadiens captain Saku Koivu opened the scoring, which would alternate through the first two periods.
The tone of the game shifted after Montreal pulled ahead 5-3 on a third-period goal by Roman Hamrlik.
First, Bruins defenseman Jeremy Reich ran interference on Montreal rookie goaltender Carey Price, leading to a tussle amongst several players. Then, after a Mike Komisarek goal, Mark Stuart gooned it up on Canadiens' forward Andrei Kostitsyn.
Boston scored shortly afterwards, but Bruins captain Zdeno Chara promptly found himself out of the game after a scrap with Guillaume Latendresse. The tiff carried over to the benches, where Bruins coach Claude Julien and Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau and assistant Kirk Muller engaged in a war of words.
It didn’t take a lip-reading expert to know what Muller’s message was to Julien.
“(Reich) played two minutes the whole game and then played nine minutes to go in the third period and tried to hit our goalie”, said Carbonneau afterwards. “Those are things I don’t like. But it’s part of the game.”
Alexei Kovalev sealed the victory with a power-play goal.
A late fighting major and instigator penalty on Canadiens forward Tom Kostopoulus will likely lead to a fine against Carbonneau under league rules.
Price stopped 32 shots to move to 5-1-1 in his rookie season. Fellow rookie Kyle Chipchura had two assists in his first multipoint game for the Canadiens.
Three Stars: 1. Alexei Kovalev 2. Roman Hamrlik 3. Glen Murray