MONTREAL — Brad Marchand and the Boston Bruins forced overtime and then won in a shootout in their first game against their former coach — Claude Julien of rival the Montreal Canadiens.
But the Bruins were more interested in keeping their unbeaten string alive than sending any message to the coach who led them to the 2011 Stanley Cup.
"It's different, but this was just another game," said Marchand, who scored in regulation time and got the game-winner in the fourth round of the shootout. "We did a good job and look forward to the next one."
The win stretched Boston's streak to 12 games (9-0-3) and left them 12-1-3 in their last 16 outings.
They had to come back twice to do it, as Montreal took an early lead on a goal by Max Pacioretty. Marchand and Jake DeBrusk put the Bruins ahead, but the Canadiens grabbed the lead back through Nicolas Deslauriers and Alex Galchenyuk before David Krejci forced overtime with a goal at 17:42 of the third.
"We seem to be able to show that character," said Marchand. "It was great to see the guys battle back.
"We didn't have a great game but we dug down and capitalized when it mattered."
It was Julien's first game against his former team since he was fired by Boston last Feb. 7, only to be hired by the Canadiens a week later.
The Bruins outshot Montreal 29-25 in regulation time and 32-30 overall in the first of three meetings between the clubs over an eight-day span. They play again Wednesday in Boston and next Saturday in Montreal.
The Canadiens (18-20-5) are 2-0-1 in their last three games.
There was a scary moment at 18:23 of the second period when a Zdeno Chara point shot hit Phillip Danault in the side of the head. The 24-year-old Canadiens centre was attended to by medical staff on the ice for about five minutes before being taken away on a stretcher.
He was moving and conscious and was to be kept overnight in hospital.
"You never want to see that," said Julien. "Regardless if it's your own team or the other team, no one wants to see injuries like that.
"They always make you worry. The players are still worried about him, but the reports are good so far. The plan is to keep him in hospital and re-evaluate him (on Sunday)."
"I wanted to talk to him," said Chara, who said something to Danault as he left the ice. "I felt bad obviously that he got hit.
"I wanted to make sure he was OK and was responding."
Officials opted to play the final 1:37 of the second period after the intermission, before the start of the third.
Victor Mete, in his first game back after helping Canada win world junior championship gold, picked up an assist 3:22 into the game when the rebound of his point shot was tucked inside the post by Pacioretty. The Canadiens captain got a third goal in as many games.
Marchand was left alone in front on a power play to take a feed from Patrice Bergeron and score his 18th of the season at 17:11.
DeBrusk was sent in alone by Charlie McAvoy to beat Carey Price with a high shot 2:55 into the second frame. Deslauriers picked up a loose puck at the Boston blue line and beat Tuukka Rask with a low shot from the slot at 5:45.
Galchenyuk took a diagonal feed from Jonathan Drouin in the right circle and beat Rask with a wrist shot under the crossbar on a power play at 8:51.
Jakub Jerabek swiped at and missed a bouncing puck and Krejci pounced on it and beat Price from close range at 17:42.
Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press