Thirty-three times the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have met in the postseason, and quite frankly there are more than 33 great moments in this rivalry. Putting this list of 10 was pretty difficult, but nonetheless our latest Throwback Thursday top 10 has some intrigue to say the least. Let’s take a look at the list.
10. Clear the benches
It started with a line brawl between both sides that featured Jay Miller and Chris Nilan, just to name a pair. It ended when Nilan shoved a player on the Bruins bench en route to the visiting locker room at the old Boston Garden. What follows is quite the scene that would make the old “Gallery Gods” proud.
9. Mike Ribeiro shows his true colors
Bruins fans have accused the Habs of embellishing and rightfully so. That doesn’t make the B’s any angels though, just ask Brad Marchand.
Marchand, PK Subban and the rest of the 40 players who will suit up this weekend don’t compare to what Mike Ribeiro tried to pull off in the 2004 first round matchup with the Black and Gold.
8. Jose Theodore stands on his head in 2002 and 2004
The Bruins were heavily favored in 2002 and 2004 to defeat the underdog Habs in the first round. Bruins killer Jose Theodore, however, had other plans as he led Les Habitants to a huge upset both years – including coming back from a 3-1 deficit in 2004.
7. Ken Dryden robs Bruins in ’71
Fresh off Bobby Orr’s flying heroics in the 1970 Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins followed up with arguably their best regular season in team history during the 1970-71 campaign. The “Big Bad Bruins” had their eyes on another taste of Lord’s Stanley, until Ken Dryden had other ideas as the Habs delivered another crushing blow to end Boston’s season.
6. Tim Thomas vs. Carey Price
In a game that saw 14 goals, 182 penalty minutes and players trying to find some comfort in the penalty box, Carey Price and Tim Thomas stole the show when the two dropped the gloves. It was not the prettiest moment in either career, but it was one that generated tons of buzz, and deservingly so.
5. 2008 first round
The Habs won all eight meetings against the Black and Gold during the regular season and were the heavy favorites going into their first round series. As they did all throughout the 2007-08 campaign, the Bruins, under first year coach Claude Julien, scratched and clawed their way towards a playoff spot.
Despite trailing 3-1 in the series, the Bruins found a way to tie the series before losing to the Habs in seven games. Their victory in Game 6 and the image of Marco Sturm’s game-winner is a lasting image and the first truly great moment at the “new Boston Garden” six years later.
(That is the best quality video I could find on YouTube and it doesn’t have much sound. Apologies to all you Jack Edwards enthusiasts out there.)
4. Chara-Pacioretty aftermath
2011 was a great year for the Bruins-Habs rivalry, but it also had its ugly moments. Case in point in March of 2011. With Les Habitants seemingly in control, captain Zdeno Chara drove Montreal forward Max Pacioretty into the stanchion.
Chara received a game-misconduct, but was not disciplined by the National Hockey League, a subject that is still debatable to this day. What followed was a prompt of 911 calls to Montreal Police that somehow prompted a “criminal investigation” on Big Zee, and companies like Air Canada and Via Rail threatening to boycott their league sponsorship.
3. Too many men
This looked like the year that the Bruins would lift the ghost from the Montreal Forum. With a 3-2 lead late in the third period, the Bruins mistimed a line change got called for having too many men on the ice. Guy Lafleur tied the game in regulation and Yvon Lambert scored the overtime winner to send the Habs back to the Stanley Cup Final, where they defeated the New York Rangers for their fourth straight title.
2. Bruins overcome the ghosts in ’88
Finally, the ghosts were lifted.
After 45 years, the Bruins finally won a playoff series against Les Habitants and they did it at the old forum. Their series victory in five games was part of the B’s run to their first Stanley Cup Final in 10 years before falling to the Edmonton Oilers.
1. Horton’s shot heard around The Hub
Nathan Horton was brought in before the 2010-11 season to give the Bruins a boost in the scoring department. He only scored 26 goals during the regular season, but boy did he show up against the Canadiens.
Horton’s heroics in the Bruins’ double overtime win in Game 5 gave his squad a 3-2 series lead. Horton’s number was called again in overtime a few nights later where he scored his second overtime winner and gave the Black and Gold their first Game 7 victory since 1994.
Just think where the Bruins would be now had Horton not delivered in the clutch. Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli would certainly not be in Boston. Some of the other members who don the Spoked B might have also gone elsewhere. Instead, they’ve now established a tradition of excellence (to quote the late Al Davis) in The Hub of Hockey.
We also wouldn’t have gotten another “history lesson” from Jack Edwards.
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