SPORTS

Brendan Gallagher scores two as Canadiens top Bruins 6-4 in home opener

10/16/2014 10:45 EDT | Updated 12/16/2014 05:59 EST
MONTREAL - The bottom line from the Montreal Canadiens' rematch with the Boston Bruins was: 10 goals, no fights, but one late bit of nastiness from Milan Lucic.

Brendan Gallagher and P.A. Parenteau each had two goals as the Canadiens chased goalie Tuukka Rask out of the game to win their home opener 6-4 over the Bruins on Thursday night.

"I'm very satisfied," said Montreal coach Michel Therrien, whose team rebounded from a 7-1 thrashing at Tampa Bay on Monday night. "Our forecheck was good, our power play was much better. That was good to see after a bad loss."

Max Pacioretty had a goal and two helpers, while Jiri Sekac got his first NHL goal for Montreal (4-1-0).

Zdeno Chara, Carl Soderberg, Loui Eriksson and Simon Gagne, with his first as a Bruin, replied for Boston (2-4-0), which led 3-2 before fading late in the second frame. Boston was coming off a win Wednesday night in Detroit.

The pre-game buildup was all about last spring, when the Canadiens upset Boston in seven games in the second round of the playoffs. In the handshake line after Game 7, Lucic reportedly threatened to "kill" Dale Weise and Alexei Emelin.

Weise was a healthy scratch, but the Lucic vs Emelin animosity was a game-long subplot. The Canadiens defenceman knocked down Lucic with an open ice check early in the game.

At 18:40 of the third, with Boston pushing to tie the game, Lucic crushed Emelin and was given a two-minute boarding penalty. After Parenteau scored into an empty net to seal the win, Lucic was handed a misconduct for mouthing off to the officials, then flexed his muscles to the Bell Centre crown in the penalty box. There were reports he also made a rude gesture to the crowd.

Lucic did not speak to the media after the game.

Otherwise, it was a peaceful game with plenty of end-to-end action.

"That's what I expected," said Gallagher. "When two points are on the line against a division rival, you can't take undisciplined penalties because they'll come back to bite you.

"It was physical and heated at times, but both teams understood the importance of the two points."

Boston coach Claude Julien said sloppy play was to blame for the loss.

"We lost our focus," he said. "We made some real bad mistakes that ended up in the back of the net.

"I'm disappointed in some of the decisions that we made that cost us some goals. We have to fix that. But as long as the effort is there, you have an opportunity, you have a chance. It was just one of those games with a lot of bouncing pucks. It's a team thing right now. As a team, we made too many mistakes."

Rask, who is 3-11-3 in his career against Montreal, allowed five goals on 23 shots before leaving 7:17 into the third in favour of Niklas Svedberg. Boston outshot Montreal 29-26.

It was a big night for Sekac, the 22-year-old winger who signed as a free agent. He got his first career goal with his parents and his girlfriend from the Czech Republic in the seats.

"I tried to find him (in the seats), but there's way too many people," said Sekac. "It's hard to describe my feelings. I can't stop smiling."

It was also special for Parenteau, the former Colorado Avalanche forward who had scored shootout goals but none in regulation time in his first four games with Montreal.

"It felt great to finally have one go in," he said.

The pre-game ceremonies saw perhaps the warmest applause Therrien has had in his three seasons as coach, while Ginette Reno's national anthem had the crowd of 21,273 buzzing. But the Canadiens started out flat.

Boston led 7-1 in shots when Chara, posted in front of Carey Price on a power play, had David Krejci's shot go in off his leg 9:03 into the game.

That woke up Montreal, which responded with its first power-play goal in 15 tries this season when David Desharnais went hard to the net and saw the puck go off Adam McQuaid's skate, then off Pacioretty's skate and in at 11:33.

After Gallagher put Montreal ahead at 7:43 of the second, the Bruins took over the game for an eight-minute stretch as Soderberg got the puck amid a crowd of Montreal defenders and scored at 8:34 and Eriksson tipped in a Torey Krug pass at 11:31.

But in the final two minutes of the period, the Canadiens struck twice as Sekac jumped on a deflected puck and scored into an open side at 18:11 and Parenteau scored from the slot at 19:36.

"Those two goals were huge," said Gallagher. "When Jiri scored, everyone got excited. It was his first NHL goal, and P.A.'s first as a Hab. It was fun to share that excitement with them."

Pacioretty deflected Emelin's pass in off Gallagher's leg 7:17 into the third, but Boston got it back at 14:11 as Lucic went around Emelin and saw his shot fall behind Price, and Gagne slide in to score with his skate.

The Bruins looked ready to push for the equalizer, but Lucic's penalty killed the momentum and Parenteau added an empty-net power-play goal.

Notes — The highlight of the pre-game ceremonies saw goaltending great Ken Dryden pass a torch to Price to start the player introductions, in which the Canadiens handed the torch to one another. . . . Montreal sat out Weise and defenceman Nathan Beaulieu in favour of Travis Moen and Emelin, who returned from an upper body injury. . . Gagne and Gregory Campbell dressed for Boston, which scratched Matt Fraser, Matt Bartkowski and Ryan Spooner.

MORE:cpSports