FOXBOROUGH, MASS.—The Montreal Forum was the Canadiens’ home for one of the most successful dynasties in professional sports. The Bruins and Celtics filled the Boston Garden rafters with championship banners.
For the NHL Winter Classic, the Original Six foes found a worthy venue to extend their rivalry.
With the New England Patriots’ logo and the image of their four Super Bowl trophies adorning his mask, Bostonian Mike Condon stopped 27 shots to lead Montreal to a 5-1 victory over the Bruins on Friday at the home of the reigning NFL champions.
Paul Byron scored twice and Brendan Gallagher returned from two broken fingers to score a goal and add an assist. David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty also scored for the Canadiens, who passed Florida and moved into first place in the Atlantic Division with 47 points.
Tuukka Rask stopped 25 shots for the Bruins, and Matt Beleskey scored in the third period to avert the first shutout in Winter Classic history. The four-goal win was the largest for the event since it began in 2008.
Both goalies paid tribute to the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady on their masks, and coach Claude Julien worked the Bruins bench in a hoodie straight from the wardrobe of his NFL counterpart, Bill Belichick.
But the Bruins fell to 0-1 in a building where the Patriots have lost only one meaningful game in three years.
Before a crowd of 67,246 and under cloudy skies, the teams dodged the slushy ice that has greeted other Winter Classic events, including the old-timers and women’s exhibitions on Thursday. Organizers compensated for the lack of snow in the Boston area so far this winter by spreading white, puffy fabric over the football field.
But they couldn’t account for such a lacklustre effort from the Bruins, who were facing their long-time rival with a chance to take over first place in the Atlantic Division.