Talk about a shot across the bow.
The Boston Bruins hadn’t defeated their hated rivals the Montreal Canadiens in the regular season since March 2007 when the Habs landed at TD Banknorth Garden Nov. 13 for their first visit to the Hub since the seven-game playoff series of the spring of ’08. With Marco Sturm providing the offense and Milan Lucic putting the exclamation point on the festivities, the Bruins vanquished the Habs in a game that ranks at No. 2 on my life of Boston’s top 10 victories of the 2008-09 regular season.
Just 2:31 into the game you could tell it was a new chapter in the Boston-Montreal rivalry, as Shawn Thornton turned a Mike Komisarek turnover into a backhand goal — the first score of the year for the veteran winger. That would not be the last time the Bruins would get a goal from their fourth line on the evening or the final opportunity for Komisarek to wear goat horns.
With three minutes remaining in the opening session, Stephane Yelle cashed in on a rebound for the fourth line’s second goal and a 2-0 Boston lead. Sturm then scored goals at 19:53 of the first and 3:44 of the second to shove the Habs into a 4-0 hole. Saku Koivu got the Habs on the board later in the second, but Lucic buried a slapper past Carey Price for a 5-1 lead that obviously had the Habs doubting their manhood. At 7:25 of the third, Komisarek tried to defend his team’s honor, but picking on Lucic was the wrong way to do that. Lucic obliterated the Montreal blueliner in a center-ice bout that electrified the Garden more than anything had in a decade. Lucic celebrated his victory by waving to the crowd and the shadow Montreal had cast over the Bruins for a couple years was finally shed.
Yelle added one more goal later in the period for a tidy 6-1 win. Boston didn’t lose to Montreal the rest of the season and the seeds of the Bruins’ dominance were sewn that Thursday night on Causeway Street.