The Montreal Canadiens wrote another storied chapter in their rivalry with the Boston Bruins as they scored a record setting five goals to win the 2016 NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on New Years Day.
The stadium was filled with anticipation as the Bruins and Canadiens would be facing off for the 910th time in franchise history. In net for Boston was seasoned veteran and former Stanley Cup champion Tukka Rask. His counterpart was Canadiens backup, Princeton University graduate, Mike Condon. From the drop of the opening faceoff, the Bruins and Canadiens wasted no time re-instilling the values of the rivalry, setting the level of physicality early in the game with no signs of letting up.
David Desharnais opened the scoring only a minute and fourteen seconds into the game on a beautiful baseball bat-like swing at a puck in mid-air to give the Canadiens a very fast 1-0 lead. The Canadiens dominated most of the play from the onset getting consistent pressure on Rask. Montreal outshot the B’s 14-3 in the opening frame and many Boston fans were left holding their breath that this would not be a repeat of the dominance the Canadiens have had over the Bruins.
The Canadiens tacked on another one when Paul Byron scored two minutes into the second period after a great deflection by Brian Flynn left the puck on Byron’s stick with a wide open net in front of him. Montreal was not done yet as Brendan Gallagher, fresh off of a hand injury, scored a great goal using superb hand-eye coordination to make the score 3-0 with only two minutes left in the second period.
It seemed as if Boston never truly found their groove until Adam McQuaid finally got the B’s on the board four minutes in to the third period to cut the deficit to two. However that is all that Montreal goalie would allow past him for the day.
Montreal tacked on two more, one from Pacioretty and a second from Byron to allow the Canadiens to run away with a 5-1 victory. For goalie Mike Condon, from Holliston, MA, the homecoming to Gillette was dazzling allowing only one goal on 27 shots. With this performance, the Canadiens set a Winter Classic record by scoring the most goals ever in a Winter Classic (5) and largest margin of victory (4).
There will be plenty of more chapters written in this storied rivalry, but on this day the Montreal Canadiens reigned supreme and added some more history to this original six battle.