BOSTON – Thought the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry lost a bit of intensity lately, didn’t you?
Well for those who need a reminder on what the rivalry means to these two teams just take a look at the Northeast Division standings going into Wednesday’s showdown where the Bruins—with a game in hand—had a two point lead on the Habs.
Need any more evidence? Well in the second period just moments after Milan Lucic made it 5-3 at 11:32, another line brawl took place in the Habs end when all 12 players, including goaltenders Carey Price and Tim Thomas, dropped the gloves to add another chapter to the rivalry. Out of that line brawl, 11 players were sent to the penalty box—six from the Bruins and five from the Canadiens—in what can be described as something you see in a circus act (like seeing how many clowns you can fit in a little car).
“It was pretty funny in there, especially when guys step up for each other and everyone is getting in there,” laughed Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who started the scrum and was one of six Bruins in that penalty box. “It was definitely more of a bonding feeling than anything.”
As far as how the goalie fight went, well we’ll let the two goalies (who both know each other pretty well) have their say.
“I think we were just out there play fighting more than anything,” Price said about his fight with Thomas. “Neither one of us really wanted to get hurt, but we are out there doing whatever we had to do.”
Even though Thomas had something up his sleeve, his plan just didn’t pan out as expected.
“I had this ‘big ol plan,’” the Bruins goalie said with a smile. “I was going to grab his right and I was going throw a couple of lefts because I know he’s bigger and taller than me. He has a big reach on me and I thought I could do a better job of throwing lefts on him.
“When we went to grab, he had a good hold on my arm so I got nothing,” Thomas continued. “So then I was like ‘Oh, now what do I do?’ I know he’s big and he’s a big right cocked and ready to come so Itried to switch arms and get my right free and I grabbed him by the back of the shirt and when he threw the right I pulled on.”
But that wasn’t all in terms of the fist of cuffs. At 17:06, 19:12 and 19:35 of the third period the teams dropped the gloves again. According to the stat sheet on NHL.com, all in all (unofficially) the two teams combined for 192 penalty minutes.
And while the Bruins had somewhat similar games like this one during the course of the 2010-11 season, including the one’s against Dallas and Atlanta, the Black and Gold have always stuck together in moments like this. Moreover, these types of games could go a long way as we head towards the final two months of the season and into the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“Guys stick up for each other and when one guy’s in there, they all come in,” said Bruins forward Nathan Horton, who scored his 14th goal of the year at 14:54 of the third period to put the Bruins ahead, 8-5. “It’s important, that’s what you need, and we have that. It’s a pretty special thing.”
If that wasn’t enough, well, obviously, there were plenty of goals scored as well.
Lucic, former Canadien Michael Ryder and Habs forward Max Pacioretty each had two goals, while Horton had a five-point night in the Bruins’ 8-6 victory in front of another sellout crowd of 17,565 at TD Garden.
In all of this, the Bruins’ locker room has gotten even closer together.
“It’s not like you can imagine,” Horton said about playing in Boston. “It’s a lot of fun. Not only because of the fights and the games, but the crowd is unbelievable.
“It just keeps getting better and as these games get more important it’s going to get even better. We’re all looking forward to just being a part of it.”
After a couple of heartbreaking losses, the Bruins can feel pretty good about themselves as they earn their first victory over their arch rivals and have widened their lead in the division to four points in the Northeast standings with that game in hand.
“We are just happy that we were able to get that win,” Lucic said. “They have been a tough opponent for us this year. We lost a heartbreaker last time but not tonight. Most of all we are happy to get those two points and keep moving up in the standings.”