Game 1 of the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs between the two storied organizations ended with the Canadiens winning 4-3 in double overtime, a grand introduction for what lies ahead.
"It sucks not winning that one," Bruins forward Jarome Iginla said. "We played well, and I thought we controlled that game. We play that way [the remainder of the series] and we'll get some good results."
Game 1 featured everything. It was emotional. It was intense. It was dramatic as the Canadiens gained an early 2-0 lead before the Bruins responded to tie it at 2-2 in the third period. As soon as Montreal regained its lead, Boston's Johnny Boychuk scored at 18:02 of the third period to tie it at 3-3 and force overtime.
The Bruins had plenty of chances in the first OT, but the puck simply wouldn't slide in. A lot of it had to do with the heroics of Montreal goaltender Carey Price, who finished with 48 saves. Overall, it was a game of missed opportunities for the Bruins, while the Canadiens capitalized.
It ended when Boston's biggest hockey villain, P.K. Subban, scored a power-play goal at 4:17 of the second overtime period en route to victory. Although the Canadiens were pleased with winning a playoff road game, the Bruins can't be too disappointed with the way they played.
"You don't get frustrated after one game," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I didn't mind the way our team played tonight. We had lots of chances, and sure, we fell behind 2-0, but we showed some resiliency and came back. I thought we carried the play for the most part, and obviously in that first OT period, the only thing is we have to find a way to bury those great opportunities we had. That's probably where there are some regrets there in not burying those chances."
Nearly every Bruin had at least one scoring opportunity during the game. David Krejci was stoned a few times. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton rang a shot off the post. Carl Soderberg nearly scored on a wraparound. Milan Lucic redirected a few that could have gone in. Boston's fourth line had multiple chances, too.
Either the puck just missed wide or Price made a timely save.
"We played a solid game overall, but with that being said, we've got to be better in bearing down and finding that puck and battling and making it harder for Price to see the puck, because he's going to stop it," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. "It's about Game 2 now."
On Thursday, Montreal didn't seem to have any rust after an eight-day hiatus between games. The Bruins were good but not good enough.
"Obviously, we're all disappointed about the loss, but we definitely want to take a lot of positives out of that game," Bruins forward Daniel Paille said. "We know we need to work on a few things, special teams being one of them. Overall, we felt, I wouldn't say happy, but we put in a good effort. It was just a few scoring chances, and we couldn't finish it. Those were the breaks tonight, and unfortunately we couldn't come out on top."
Win or lose, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is always ready to provide a good quote. A season ago in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs against the Toronto Maple Leafs, he said, "You're either a hero or an a--hole," in referring to making a save or allowing the winning goal in an overtime game.
On Thursday, he was hard on himself for letting in a couple of goals he thought he should've had.
"When you suck, you suck," he said. "That's it. What can I say? It's the playoffs."
He added, "I was s--- today. Got to be better."
Julien wasn't about to blame Rask or anyone else for the loss. In the end, Montreal got the bounce it needed to take the first game of the series.
"We win as a team, we lose as a team, so I'm certainly not going to jump on our goaltender," Julien said.
The Bruins were called for two penalties in overtime. First, Paille was called for tripping in the closing seconds of the first overtime. Matt Bartkowski was whistled for holding in the second OT, which led to Subban's winning goal.
After the game, Julien had no issues with the penalty calls.
"They were both penalties, so there's no issues in my mind," he said. "That's the way it is. Could there have been some others in the overtime? Maybe. But the ones they called against us were definitely penalties."
Bartkowski remained dejected afterward in the locker room.
"I'm not going to comment on whether or not it was a penalty," he said. "The result sucks. So, I think it could have been prevented before the call was made."
This series still looks like it will be decided by goaltending. In Game 1, Price turned in an outstanding performance. He made timely saves and kicked away almost everything the Bruins sent his way.
"It was a battle," Price said. "It was exactly what we were expecting, and we just gutted it out. It was a hard-fought game that could have gone either way."
That will be the theme for the remainder of this series. Based on Game 1, it has the makings of a classic.
"Definitely," Boychuk said. "It's going to be like that the whole series, and we wouldn't expect anything less. We just have to be ready for Saturday and come to play hard."