Bobby Ryan scored in overtime to give the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 victory, but it was a fight between Mark Borowiecki and P.K. Subban midway through the third that was clearly the highlight of the night for most.
Subban was unavailable to comment on the exchange, but Canadiens coach Michel Therrien was proud of his young defenceman.
"He showed character, he didn't back down," said Therrien. "These are the things you don't want to see, but those things happen at times during pre-season games.
Borowiecki admitted he was a little surprised to be paired off with Subban after a scrum broke out, but admitted there was a distinct intensity right from the start of the game.
"It didn't really feel like a pre-season game, it was pretty intense out there," said Borowiecki. "I think that's just the nature of this rivalry. It doesn't matter what time of the season it's always pretty intense."
Borowiecki gave Subban credit for staying in there as long as he did, considering he's a skilled player, but anticipates someone else will likely take care of things if there's a next time.
Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman and Alex Chiasson also scored for Ottawa as Robin Lehner stopped 24 shots. The Senators are 3-2-1 in exhibition play this year.
Alex Galchenyuk, Max Pacioretty and P.A. Parenteau scored for Montreal, which dropped to 4-2-0 in the pre-season. Peter Budaj faced 26 shots.
It might be pre-season, but the Senators felt that rallying to get the win was significant.
"It's huge because we didn't do it very often last year," said Ryan. "Even if it is pre-season you get a sense that you're building on something and that's what you want to do. You want to come in every night feeling a little bit better than the night before."
After a less than thrilling 40 minutes the two teams gave the 19,034 on hand at Canadian Tire Place something to get excited about as three goals were scored.
The period started with the Canadiens leading 2-1, but in a span of just over five minutes three goals were scored.
Hoffman tied the game early in the third scoring from a sharp angle down low to beat Budaj. It was only the Senators 10th shot of the game.
Parenteau regained the lead for Montreal, scoring a power-play goal from the point. Lehner appeared to make the save, but the puck trickled through his pads.
The Senators made the most of a 19-second two-man advantage as Chiasson banged home a Mika Zibanejad rebound to once again tie the game.
"It was a good battle and I think it was a good game," said Budaj. "Unfortunately we didn't get a win."
Things got heated shortly after Chiasson's goal as Chris Neil and Pacioretty got into it, as well as Subban and Borowiecki. In the end, the Senators were left shorthanded being assessed an extra four minutes.
Outshot 12-2 in the second period the Senators were fortunate to only be trailing 2-1.
"We struggled in the second," said Karlsson. "I think there's different parts of the game that we need to work out, but I think we addressed that going into the third and I think we started the third really well and that carried us all the way to the end."
Galchenyuk tied the game midway through the second as he came from behind the net, grabbed the puck and had it go in off Cody Ceci's stick.
"I came behind the net and I saw the puck lying there and I knew if I get it quick the goalie wouldn't see much," said Galchenyuk. "Lucky for me it was open and it went in."
With time winding down Pacioretty was able to take advantage of an Ottawa turnover and broke in alone on Lehner and beat him low glove side to take a 2-1 lead.
The Senators didn't register their first shot of the period until the 14-minute mark.
Ottawa jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Karlsson's power-play goal midway through the first.
The two teams are back in action Saturday night as both wrap-up the pre-season schedule.
Notes: C Zack Smith, C Colin Greening and D Patrick Wiercioch were a healthy scratch. D Matt Methot remains sidelined and has yet to play this pre-season. This marked Senators D Erik Karlsson's first game wearing the captain's "C". This was the Senators first time experiencing the dry scrape and players admitted it definitely takes momentum away and felt a little long.