The rivalry of the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins never fails to produce memorable moments. Some of them are memorable for the right reasons, some for the wrong reasons. Nevertheless, they’re never forgotten. Both fan bases love to point the finger at their rivals. One accuses the other of diving, one calls out dirty antics, one says there’s an NHL conspiracy against them. It’s hard sometimes to figure out which side is which.
While fans of hockey love to remember the great moments between these two teams, such as Montreal’s upset of the Bruins in 1971, the Bruins winning in overtime of Game 7 in 2011 or the too many men on the ice incident, there are moments fans would like to forget. Moments you wish never happened or at least wish wouldn’t overshadow some of the great ones.
8. One shot too many? (1986)
In this 1986 brawl, several Bruins and several Canadiens joined the fray in this scrum. It appeared things would settle down when Habs’ enforcer Chris Nilan would be escorted off the ice. He then stuck out his fist and may have come into contact with a face or a shoulder? You be the judge. Whatever he connected with, the brawl continued and it was an unnecessary shot. At least the fans seemed to enjoy it.
7. Kyle McLaren elbows Richard Zednik (2002)
This arguably rekindled the rivalry and sent it from simple dislike to pure hatred. The teams hadn’t met in the playoffs in eight years. While there was history, there wasn’t a lot of bad blood left in the rivalry; then this happened. Kyle McLaren leaned with his elbow and nearly beheaded Richard Zednik. His playoff season was done. The Habs went on to win the series, but this began a whole new era of the rivalry. It’s a shame it had to start with a dirty hit.
6. Mike Riberio gets shot; at least that’s what he wants you to think (2004)
Canadiens fans still have mixed feelings on Mike Ribeiro to this day. Great talent, definitely worth more than an old Janie Niinimaa, but questionable character. If Bruins fans wanted to accuse the Habs of being divers and pointing the finger at Ribeiro back here, I don’t think anybody could blame them. And the Oscar goes to…
5. Milan Lucic takes Mike Komisarek to the woodshed (2008)
Milan Lucic is loved by Bruins fans, hated by the rest. Let’s give him this; he is tougher than a 2$ steak. This moment is perhaps only shameful for Mike Komisarek, as Lucic owned him in this fight and Komisarek’s pride seemed to be hurt. Many Habs fans maintain Komisarek wasn’t the same player after this fight. Of course, any sympathy from Habs fans disappeared when he signed with the Maple Leafs.
4. Pacioretty scores, Chara no like (2011)
This is a shameful moment in the sense that it sort of foreshadowed something far uglier happening. This was a big win for the Canadiens in the middle of the 2010-11 season. They came back from a 2-0 deficit late in a game against Boston, and Max Pacioretty scored in overtime.
Pacioretty gave Zdeno Chara a little tap on his way to the corner, Chara followed him, Pacioretty shoved him again and a melee ensued.
3. Chara knocks out Pacioretty (2011)
Zdeno Chara likely didn’t intend to break Pacioretty’s vertebrae or knock him unconscious, but the undertones following the game earlier in the season leads one to believe there was intent to somewhat hurt Pacioretty. On the play, Pacioretty didn’t have the puck, hence not a hockey play, and was driven into the stanchion. It was perhaps the scariest moment in the history of the Bell Centre. Watch this video with caution, if you can bear to watch it again. It’s a very regrettable moment. Thankfully, Max Pacioretty is okay and still enjoying a very successful young career right now.
2. Brad Marchand calls the kettle black
You started it! Nuh-uh! Uh-huh! Of all people to call out another team for chirping and diving, Brad Marchand?!
Perhaps the biggest culprit of both of these habits, Marchand accused the Montreal Canadiens of instigating and diving in order to get favourable calls from the referees. Do the Canadiens ever dive? Sure. No more than many teams in the NHL and certainly no more than the Bruins have done, particularly this one. Marchand, let someone like Patrice Bergeron or Chris Kelly say it instead.
1. Alexei Emelin’s welcome party to rivalry (2013)
Alexei Emelin joined the Montreal Canadiens in their dreadful 2011-12 season. In 2013, the Habs had a meaningful game with the Boston Bruins in March, as first place in the Northeast division was hanging in the balance. Emelin laid a hit on Tyler Seguin, which the big man Chara didn’t like too much. Chara rushed after Emelin and went to town. The bad news for Chara was he got ejected for most of the game, which essentially favoured Montreal. The Habs went on to win the game. Once again, a great game was overshadowed by one ugly incident.
The Habs and Bruins are in the midst of a very entertaining 34th series in the teams’ history. Let’s hope by the end of it, we’re only talking about great hockey and not embellishment, diving, chirping, etc…