NHL Winter Classic: Brendan Gallagher leads Canadiens over rival Bruins

Brendan Gallagher scored, had an assist and was a constant net presence in his injury return, leading the Montreal Canadiens to a 5-1 victory over the hometown Boston Bruins in the eighth NHL Winter Classic on Friday.

Habs forward makes big impact in return from injury

Gallagher returned with a goal and assist as Montreal downed the Bruins 5-1 in Foxboro 0:22

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.

The Original Six rivals met at the home of the defending Super Bowl champions for the NHL Winter Classic on Friday, and it was the visiting Canadiens and their locally grown goalie who managed to mimic the New England Patriots' success.

Wearing a mask decorated with a Patriots theme and autographed by their coach and quarterback, Mike Condon stopped 27 shots to help Montreal beat the Bruins 5-1 on Friday at the home of the reigning NFL champions.

"I'm pretty sure anything Tom Brady touches turns to gold," said the Boston-bred goalie whose father is a policeman who works  security detail at Gillette Stadium during Patriots games. "Hopefully got some mojo on my helmet there. I'm a huge fan of his, huge fan of this organization, and I'm just happy to pay respect to them on the ice."

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.

Patriots influence

Both goalies paid tribute to the Patriots and 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.

Condon's mask had pictures of Brady and Belichick, New England's four Super Bowl trophies and their motto: "Do your job." The two Patriots icons rewarded his loyalty by signing the backplate for him; Belichick even listed the team's four championships.

Anytime a player is coming back home, it's a special place for him. And we all are happy about the way he performed.- Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien on goalie Mike Condon's 27-save performance

Condon shut out the Bruins for more than two periods, gloving Ryan Spooner's wrist shot with 0.1 seconds left in the second period to protect a 3-0 lead.

"Anytime a player is coming back home, it's a special place for him," said Montreal's Michel Therrien, who also coached Pittsburgh to a win in the inaugural Winter Classic in 2008 and is the first NHL coach to win twice. "And we all are happy about the way he performed."

Rask had Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski on his, along with a scowling minuteman -- in black and gold, rather than the red, white and blue colours that the Patriots share with the Canadians.

But the Bruins fell to 0-1 in a building where the Patriots have lost only one meaningful game in three years.

"We definitely feel like we let everybody down," Bruins defenceman Dennis Seidenberg said. "It was such a big buildup. I'm sure everybody in here wanted to come out on the ice with a little bit more jump and bring a little bit better effort. But that wasn't the case today."

The Canadiens had beaten Boston seven straight times before a Bruins victory on Dec. 9, but Montreal had lost 11 of 13 heading into the New Year's Day game.


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