BOSTON (AP) - Tomas Plekanec put one in each net, making up for an own goal by scoring the tiebreaker with 9:14 remaining on Thursday night to give the Montreal Canadiens a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins.
It was the teams' first meeting since a seven-game series in the first round of the playoffs that Boston won en route to its sixth Stanley Cup championship.
All of the old animosity was still there, with Brad Marchand and P.K. Subban the latest to brawl in an Original Six rivalry that's nearly a century old.
Carey Price stopped 29 shots for Montreal, which entered the night tied for last with Boston in the Northeast Division. The Canadiens, who fired assistant coach Perry Pearn after winning just one of their first eight games, have now won two in a row after beating Philadelphia 5-1 on Wednesday night.
Tim Thomas made 33 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who have lost three of their past four games.
Plekanec stumbled in the first period, winning a faceoff at the left circle but knocking it past Price into the Montreal net; Patrice Bergeron lost the faceoff but was credited with the goal. Erik Cole tied it for Montreal in the second, and then the Canadiens took the lead when Plekanec's shot was blocked by Marchand right back to Plekanec, who beat Thomas on the second attempt.
The game seemed at times to be a sideshow for the brawl between Marchand and Subban, who squared off three times in the second period - with crowd-pleasing results.
The two matched up for a pair of holding penalties at 13:47 of the second. As soon as they came out of the box they found each other in the corner, but before any punches were thrown the linesmen separated them. That only postponed the drama, because when they came out of the box they went right for each other again.
Circling each other at center ice, and ignoring the action in the Canadiens' zone, the two players shed their gloves, their helmets, even their elbow pads as they put their dukes up and prepared to fight. When they finally closed in, after yet more bobbing and weaving, Subban unleashed a roundhouse right hand that missed; he slipped to the ice, and the fans laughed and jeered.
But the Canadiens' tough guy was quickly back on his skates, grabbing sweaters with Marchand as they traded punches. Subban also swung and missed a couple more times.
Finally, the two punched themselves out and just stopped; the linesmen ushered them off the ice for the rest of the period.
Boston wound up with a power play because of a holding penalty on Josh Gorges, and the Bruins had two great chances. One of them was saved by defenseman Raphael Diaz, desperately sliding across the goal crease with Price out of position. Price lost his stick on the play, but he stopped a shot from the point between his pads to force a faceoff.
Notes: Price stopped Rich Peverley on a breakaway with 5:37 left in the second period. ... The Bruins won Game 7 of last year's playoff series on Nathan Horton's overtime goal. ... It was Max Pacioretty's first game against Boston since he sustained a season-ending concussion and cracked vertebra on a hit by Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara during a 4-1 Canadiens' victory March 8. ... Price had been 0-2-0 with a 7.47 goals-against average in his past two regular-season visits to Boston. ... The teams meet again in Montreal on Saturday.