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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Old Time Hockey gives everyone pants tents

When the Boston Bruins had their fight-filled game against the Atlanta Thrashers right before Christmas, I didn't think it would be topped in terms of excitement this season. However, last week they staged a ridiculous game with the Dallas Stars which included three fights in the first four seconds. Again, I was too narrow-minded to imagine a regular season game that would be better than that.

Last night was proof that all the excitement of those first two games added to facing your most bitter rival (the Montreal Canadiens) can make for an absurdly entertaining contest that the Bruins won 8-6 at the TD Garden.

If 187 combined penalty minutes don't do it for you, how about 14 total goals? Truly, this game had it all and I'm insanely jealous of anyone that was in the building. The atmosphere was understandably electric and we can only hope that these teams meet in the playoffs.

Montreal had beaten Boston the first three times they played this season, they have two more left in the regular season.

Nathan Horton (1 goal, 4 assists) had his first career five-point game, David Krejci had three assists, Dennis Seidenberg had a goal and an assist while Milan Lucic (1 assist) and Michael Ryder each scored a pair of goals for the Bs (31-16-7), who stayed four points ahead of the Canadiens (30-20-5) with the win and on top of the Northeast Division.

For Montreal, Yanick Webber had one goal and two assists, Max Pacioretty scored twice while David Desharnais (1 goal, 1 assist), Brian Gionta (1 goal, 1 assist), Tomas Plekanec (2 assists), PK Subban (1 goal, 1 assist) and James Wisniewski (2 assists) all had multiple points.

To put a bow on it, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas (27 saves) and Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (26 saves) even tried to have a goalie fight in the second period but it never really materialized since you know, neither knows how to fight.

This was one of those nights where I was thankful to have the night off from work since I got to watch this all unfold live and not second-hand through Twitter, AP stories and highlights then DVR when I got home.

The game couldn't have gotten off to a better start as Boston popped in two first-period goals for a 2-0 lead. Brad Marchand (his 15th of the season) scored one of the prettier goals of the season off assists from linemates Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. Then Seidenberg took advantage of a poor clearance by Subban to score his fifth of the season, from Horton. Those goals were 12 seconds apart (13:16-13:28), tying their quickest mark of the season.

As I always like to say though, nothing is ever easy for the Bruins and they immediately allowed Montreal to tie it early in the second period. Gionta scored 25 seconds in from Plekanec and Wisniewski. At 8:30 Subban put in the first of four power-play goals for the Canadiens. Gionta and Plekanec assisted on the rookie defenseman's slap shot from the point.

From there, things went absolutely berserk as Adam McQuaid scored his first of the season (from Horton and Lucic) at 9:48. Weber tied it at 11:01 from Mathieu Darche. Ryder scored his first goal (his 15th of the season) after a sweet pass from rookie Zach Hamill. Blake Wheeler also assisted on Ryder's tally. Lucic put the Bruins up 5-3 at 12:31 (his 22nd of the season) from Horton and Krejci.

Five seconds later, a flurry of scraps broke out (including Thomas and Price) which ended up with the comical sight of six Bruins in the penalty box at the same time.

Desharnais scored a power-play goal at 12:48 from Subban and Weber. At 14:49, Lucic scored a short-handed goal from Krejci and Horton that was key.

Pacioretty got his first of two third-period goals at 7:06 from Wisniewski on the power play. Ryder had a goal wiped out on a bogus call when Marchand was pushed into Price but he exacted some revenge a few moments later when he scored on the power play at 10:01 from Seidenberg and Steve Kampfer.

Horton gave Boston a three-goal lead with his 14th of the season at 14:54, don't ask me how Price played the entire game, before Pacioretty got a garbage time power-play goal at 19:46 from Desharnais and Weber.

Oh and there were two more huge brawls that were way too complicated to detail.

This game took nearly three hours and I feel like it will go down as one of the most memorable Bruins games I'll ever see. Just insane from start to finish.

No doubt, there will be a letdown tomorrow night when they host the Detroit Red Wings but hopefully Thomas can carry them enough and they'll wake up in time to get two points against one of the Western Conference's best teams.

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