Series (Game 1 of 5)

Montreal leads 3-2

Game 1: Friday, November 29th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 10th
Game 3: Saturday, December 14th
Game 4: Thursday, February 6th
Game 5: Tuesday, February 11th

Canadiens 2

(10-9-0, 24 pts)

Bruins 4

(15-3-1, 34 pts)

12:00 PM ET, November 29, 2002

TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

1 2 3 T
MTL 1 0 12
BOS 1 0 34

J. Thornton (Bruins - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

R. Zednik (Canadiens - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

M. Grosek (Bruins - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Boston wins in first meeting since 2002 upset

BOSTON (AP) -- For two periods, the Bruins played like the team Montreal bounced from the playoffs last season. Luckily for Boston, the team that has dominated the Eastern Conference this season showed up just in time.

Michal Grosek broke a tie with his first goal of the season, lifting Boston past the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 on Friday. It was the first game between the teams since the Canadiens stunned the top-seeded Bruins in the first round of the playoffs.

Much like in its six-game wipeout last spring, Boston outshot Montreal by a considerable margin. But Friday, the Bruins capitalized on their opportunities, and by doing so extended their home winning streak to eight games, their longest since 1983.

The Bruins are 7-2 in games decided by two goals or fewer, including a 5-1 mark in one-goal games.

"The difference this season is we're winning the close games,'' Mike Knuble said. "As a group we always believe we can win.''

Grosek took a pass from Sean Brown, set up at the top of the faceoff circle and sent a slap shot past Jose Theodore to put Boston ahead 3-2 at 5:40 of the third period.

That goal came just 1½ minutes after Montreal's Richard Zednik made it 2-2 with his second score of the game and 12th of the season.

Then, with just over three minutes left, Joe Thornton added an unassisted goal. Thornton beat a pair of Canadiens defenders and deked Theodore with a backhander for his 11th goal.

The Bruins outshot Montreal 42-26 overall, including 15-4 in the second period.

"We knew (Theodore) was good coming in, so we just kept shooting. Hopefully some would go in, and they did,'' said Thornton.

Jozef Stumpel gave Boston a 2-1 lead on a back-handed wrist shot earlier in the third period.

Glen Murray put Boston ahead 1-0 when Knuble fed him in front of the net, and he beat Theodore through the pads. Murray has a goal in four straight games.

Zednik tied it just 10 seconds into Montreal's first power play, redirecting Andrei Markov's shot past Steve Shields midway through the opening period.

Shields stopped 26 shots for the Bruins.

Boston, which lost Bill Guerin to Dallas in the offseason and has been without Sergei Samsonov for the last 18 games because of a wrist injury, has been an unexpected offensive juggernaut this season. The Bruins lead the Eastern Conference with 79 goals scored, an average of 3.6 per game.

"It's a tough team to play against. They play well, they play with a lot of confidence and they work very hard,'' said Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. "They deserve all the credit for being in the position they're in.''

Game notes

Theodore, the 2001-02 league MVP, fell to 5-7-2. ... The Bruins are 8-1-1-0 in their last 10 games, and have outscored opponents 41-16 during that stretch. ... It was Boston's second sellout of the season. The other came in the opener against Ottawa. ... Martin Lapointe returned to the lineup for Boston after missing 17 games with a hamstring injury and a broken foot.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press