The Montreal Canadiens started the year off right on Friday, dominating the Boston Bruins 5-1 in the NHL’s Winter Classic in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
With the home of the NFL’s New England Patriots transformed for the festive New Year’s Day outdoor game, the Canadiens showed that they are right at home anywhere in the Boston area.
It was just the third victory in 13 games for Montreal — but their eighth straight road win against the Bruins.
Left winger Paul Byron scored twice, while right winger Brendan Gallagher — back after missing 17 games with two broken fingers on his left hand — and left winger Max Pacioretty scored a goal apiece — both with assists from center Tomas Plekanec.
David Desharnais added a goal for the Canadiens, who got 27 saves from rookie goaltender Mike Condon — who hails from nearby Holliston, Massachusetts.
Boston’s Matt Beleskey tipped one in to spoil Condon’s shutout bid 3 minutes, 56 seconds into the third period — fitting perhaps in a stadium where the Patriots have never been shut out in 128 NFL games.
Both goaltenders wore masks that paid tribute to the reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots, and Bruins coach Claude Julien paid tribute to the Pats’ canny coach Bill Belichick by wearing one of Belichick’s favored hooded sweatshirts.
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask wore a mask bearing the likenesses of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and teammates Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Stephen Gostkowski.
“We wanted to pay tribute to their success and some of their players,” said Rask, who made 25 saves and kept the Bruins in the game until the second period, but fell to 4-15-3 lifetime against Montreal in regular-season games.
The game was the eighth edition of the Winter Classic, the outdoor game originally devised by the NHL to celebrate the sport’s roots.
In Vancouver, Alexandre Burrows scored in the first round of the shootout, while Jacob Markstrom made 27 saves to help the Vancouver Canucks beat the Anaheim Ducks 2-1.
Burrows whipped a shot past goaltender Frederik Anderson to start the shootout and then Markstrom stopped shots from Ryan Kesler, Jakob Silfverberg and Corey Perry to end Anaheim’s three-game win streak.
Christopher Tanev tied the scores with 9 minutes, 36 seconds remaining on a wrist shot from the blue line that slipped through traffic and past Anderson.
Kesler put Anaheim ahead in the second period on a power play. Kesler was checked down by Matt Bartkowski while taking in a feed from Chris Stewart atop the crease, but still tipped the puck in past Markstrom.
Additional reporting by AP
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