The Boston-Canadiens rivalry is one of the greatest rivalries in sport. Since first meeting on December 8, 1924, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have played against each other 909 times – match up 910 will be the 2016 Winter Classic.
According to M-Cubed, the overall record for the Boston-Canadiens series stands at Montreal - 463 wins, Boston - 343 wins, and 103 draws.
The 2016 NHL Winter Classic
This year’s Winter Classic will take part on New Year’s Day at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts – it will be considered as a Boston home game because of this.
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The Gillette Stadium usually hosts current NFL Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots, and the MLS football team New England Revolution.
The game will take place outside, with a rink constructed in the middle of the field. Both the Habs and the Bruins will be wearing special jerseys based upon their old kits – as a sign of the age-old rivalry between the two hockey teams.
Speaking to the NHL, Boston Bruins owner – Jeremy Jacobs – said that the league picked a great match up for the fans: "The Boston Bruins are honored to once again host the Winter Classic.”
"Gillette Stadium is a magnificent setting for this storied rivalry between the Bruins and Canadiens, and the NHL could not have delivered a better matchup for our fans. We look forward to a great game."
Geoff Molson, the owner of the Canadiens, says that they had to play their age-old rival in such an event as the Winter Classic: "The Boston Bruins are one of our oldest rivals and the history between our two clubs is unparalleled.”
"They were our logical opponent for our Centennial game in December 2009, and to make history together once more by returning to hockey's roots in an outdoor setting is something everyone throughout our organization is greatly anticipating.
A Legendary Sporting Rivalry
The NHL calculates that: “The Bruins and Canadiens have faced off 729 times during the regular season, tied for the most head-to-head meetings by any two teams in NHL history (Chicago-Detroit).
“Their 177 head-to-head playoff games and 34 postseason series also are the most in League history, while their nine head-to-head Game 7s lead all teams in North American major professional sports (includes MLB, NBA and NHL).”
Their heated rivalry has brought about many huge moments in the NHL.
1930 brought about one of the least expected underdog victories of all time. Boston went the entire season without losing back-to-back games and ended the regular season 38-5-1, defeating the Canadiens in each of the four times that they met.
Then, in a three-game series, Montreal crushed the Bruins in the first two games, winning the first by shutout.
In 1952, Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s goal, whilst heavily concussed, won the Stanley Cup semi-finals for Montreal over the Bruins.
Three years later Maurice Richard was key in the fixture once again. Some nasty play and sub-sequential fighting between Richard and Hal Laycose – his ex-team mate turned Bruin – resulted in “Rocket” punching a referee. The NHL president, Clarance Campbell, banned Richard for the remainder of the season.
Campbell attended the following Montreal game where he was pelted with debris by Habs fans. He declared the game a forfeit in favour of Montreal’s opposition, which resulted in the fans entering into a riot. The riot caused thousands of dollars worth of damage and went on until the early hours of the following morning.
Sports Illustrated pegs the greatest moment in the rivalry’s history to be Game Seven of the 1979 Stanley Cup final. The Bruins were 4-3 up with just a few minutes to go, but then received a penalty for too many men on the field.
The Habs scored on the resulting powerplay to take the game to overtime, where Montreal won the game. This sourced the Canadiens’ joke about Bostonians not being able to count.
Montreal dominated Boston in the Stanley Cup playoffs for over four decades, starting in 1946, managing to defeat the American team in 19 consecutive playoff series.
The Bruins then snapped their 45-year playoff losing streak to the Habs in 1988 – coming into this series, the Canadiens had defeated Boston for four years running.
Since the meeting in ’88, Boston has been able to sway the playoff record in their favour, winning six of the ten series against Montreal.
It’s still a Heated Affair
Although the two sides haven’t met in the playoffs for four years, the matchup is still a huge game to both of the franchises, and their fans.
This season hosts the 92nd year of Boston-Canadiens rivalry matchups. Montreal has won two of the three games – one at home and one away – but Boston has won the most recent matchup, which took place in Montreal’s Centre Bell.
Over the three games this season there have been: 16 goals, five major penalties, 22 minor penalties and, a total of 89 penalty minutes.
On the ice, the Bruins will fear the presence of P. K. Subban, Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher, Max Pacioretty and Dale Weise. The Habs, on the other hand, will be trying to stop the likes of big Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and they’ll have to deal with Boston’s resident brawlers; Zac Rinaldo and Tyler Randell.
This year’s historic Winter Classic will showcase the legendary rivalry between the Original Six’s Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, and will be an incredible game of outdoor ice hockey.
The match starts at 6pm, UK time, and will be broadcasted live on Premier Sports.