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Scrappy Bruins make their point

MONTREAL -- One step forward, one step sideways.


The Bruins continued to accumulate points by extending their unbeaten streak (1-0-1-0) last night to a modest two games with a 1-1 overtime tie with the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

The Bruins are certainly no stranger to the overtime period. In the last 21 contests, the club has gone to the extra session 11 times and is 1-0-6-4. The Bruins have played in overtime in four of the last six (0-0-4-0). In their four-game road swing, they finished with points in three games and a record of 1-1-2-0.

"We obviously want to stay in the win column but more important is the process of where our team is going," said coach Mike Sullivan. "Every day you come to the rink, one of two things happens -- either you get better or you get worse. Very rarely do you stay the same and I think our team is moving in the right direction."

Both clubs expected a low-scoring, tight-checking game. Each team was supposed to wear vintage sweaters for the contest as an homage to the past. But in the first period, the Habs were the only ones with them on. The Bruins' sweaters didn't arrive until the middle of the period due to a flight delay.

After a so-so first, during which Boston was outshot, 11-6 (half the shots coming in the final 3:26), the visitors regrouped and came hard after the Habs.

"We didn't get off to the start we wanted," said Sullivan. "We certainly didn't skate the way we were capable of in the first period and that doesn't help. We got in penalty trouble early and if you take four or five penalties in the first period, it is tough to get momentum. [Andrew Raycroft] made some big saves for us. I thought our penalty killers did a pretty good job and I thought we came out in

the second period and had a real strong [effort]." Boston faced four power plays in the first but killed them off, vanquishing all seven of the Habs' man-advantage opportunities.

"We had a slow start because we weren't moving our feet and that's when penalties happen," said Brian Rolston, who had the Bruins' goal. "I didn't think it was our best effort but you have to give them credit as well."

The Habs took a 1-0 lead on a goal by defenseman Craig Rivet at 10:08. Right wing Michael Ryder dished a pass to defenseman Francis Bouillon at the left point. Bouillon took a shot that Rivet redirected past Raycroft.

"I'd let them do that play 100 times and they'd probably put it in once," he said. "There wasn't much room there. You just kind of tip your hat to them."

With 8:04 left in the period, the Bruins lost Rob Zamuner when he was drilled by Darren Langdon at mid-ice. Zamuner went down, hitting his face on the ice. He tried to get up and then stumbled forward with blood pouring out of his nose. He was helped to the dressing room, and did return.

A few seconds later, the Bruins pulled even on Rolston's 12th tally of the season. Defenseman Hal Gill's shot from the top of the left circle was deflected in front of the net. Rolston collected the rebound and backhanded it over Theodore at 12:01 to make it 1-1 and that's how it finished.

The Canadiens had a five-on-three advantage for 23 seconds in the first period but couldn't convert. The Bruins wound up with a two-man advantage for 11 seconds later in the second but they couldn't cash in.

The game got ugly early in the third when Michal Grosek slammed Bouillon from behind into the boards at the 43-second mark. Grosek was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct and the Canadiens had a five-minute power play.

From that point on, tempers were short. At 3:35, 18-year-old rookie Patrice Bergeron had the puck and tried to drive to the net. He was ridden into the cage hard by Rivet, knocking over Theodore. The goalie took exception and went after Bergeron. Players from both sides jumped in and Theodore and Bruins defenseman Nick Boynton were assessed matching minors for roughing. Raycroft made it up the ice for a look-see but said he never planned to jump into the fray. He said he was responding to a delayed penalty call. "I was too tired," he said. "If I had to skate all the way down there, I wouldn't have been able to finish the game."

He did, and the Bruins finished strong as well.

"I thought it was certainly a fun game to be a part of because of the energy and intensity," said Sullivan. "The energy guys on both sides made contributions to help their respective teams and it's probably what you'd expect from a Boston-Montreal type of game."

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