With 41 total cups between both teams, a bevy of hall of fame players, and too many other accolades to count it was a star studded affair, even with a player like Larry Robinson sitting out due to a torn rotator cuff.
Jose Theodore was the star of the opening frame, and looked as if he had never retired, with several sprawling saves, and perhaps most impressively stoning Don Sweeney on a breakaway. Patrice Brisebois opened the scoring for the Canadiens alumni with a squeaker that just trickled in between the legs of Reggie Lemelin.
Following that the show belonged to Mats Naslund and Alex Kovalev who combined for the Habs alumni's second goal of the night, a nice snipe from Kovalev who did not moonwalk afterwards.
After a fairly fast paced opening period, the action slowed down on both ends for the middle frame. The Bruins alumni got on the board with a top shelf goal from Mark Recchi. But mostly Andrew Raycroft and Theodore slammed the door shut on a number of odd-man rushes.
The third period saw Richard Sevigny take over for Theodore in nets, and an outburst of goals for the Bruins. Mark Recchi tied the game early in the period and not long after former Winter Classic hero Marco Sturm gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead.
The Canadiens alums would not be denied as Steve Shutt tied the game back up at 3-3. Former Hab Sergei Samsanov restored the lead for Boston only to have Donald Audette tie the game on a penalty shot.
The shootout, despite being part of an exhibition game, carried all the drama and suspense of a regular season NHL game. Samsanov and Recchi both tallied goals for the Bruins while Oleg Petrov and Audette scored for the Canadiens.
After Ray Bourque scored in the sudden death round something fantastic happened. Jacques Demers sent Boston native Chris Nilan over the boards for the Canadiens. Even though he didn't score Nilan and Demers both mentioned how special a moment it was to have that chance in his hometown.
It was a fun, goal, and nostalgia filled affair at Gillette Stadium tonight, a nice reprieve before the current editions of the Canadiens and Bruins battle it out.