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Bruins, 3-2 (SO -- final)

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  November 23, 2008 12:01 AM

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For the first time since Dec. 4, 2006, the Bruins claimed a win at the Bell Centre.

And not just any win. A 3-2 shootout win over the hated Habs that puts the Bruins all alone in first place in the East, two points ahead of the Rangers.

"There were a lot of things we still had to accomplish as a team," said Claude Julien. "One of them was to win here in this building in the regular season. It had been a while. So it was a good win for us. I thought the guys battled hard. We knew it would be a tough game but we stood up to the challenge and found a way to win."

Tim Thomas foiled Alex Kovalev, Andrei Markov, and Saku Koivu in the shootout. Blake Wheeler, Boston's first shooter, beat Carey Price.

  • Predictably, much of the post-game buzz revolved around Milan Lucic and his night under Georges Laraque's verbal assault. Laraque spent most of the first period trying to get Lucic to drop the gloves. Julien, however, had instructed Lucic not to fight Laraque. "Pretty simple," said Julien. "We've got a good hockey player who's 20 years old and is a first-line player. Simple as that. You think we were going to send him against probably the toughest guy in the league?" Lucic declined to offer any specifics on his confrontations with Laraque, only to say that he'd never been shadowed like that by a tough guy.

  • Thomas made starts on consecutive nights for the second time this season. Thomas was sharp again and had no chance on either of Montreal's goals.

  • Lucic led all players with nine hits. Steve Begin and Francis Bouillon led the Canadiens with six hits each.

    STICK SALUTE: Lucic. It must have been challenging for Lucic to swallow his pride and decline to fight Laraque. But Lucic responded by scoring his team's first goal and earning the respect of his coaches and teammates.

    SIN BIN: Tomas Plekanec. The slick center absolutely killed the Bruins during the regular season last year. But he had only one shot and little presence in 18:50 of ice time.

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