(Reuters) - The Montreal Canadiens and their local goalkeeper Mike Condon spoilt New Year’s Day for the Boston Bruins, crushing their longtime foes 5-1 in the NHL’s annual outdoor Winter Classic in Foxborough, Massachusetts on Friday.
Condon, who was raised in nearby Holliston and visited Gillette Stadium several times as an avid New England Patriots fan, made 27 saves to help Montreal win the latest installment in the rivalry between the two ‘Original Six’ franchises.
This was the 910th combined regular-season and playoff game between the teams, but the first held outdoors at Gillette Stadium, where the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots play their home games in the National Football League.
For the 25-year-old Condon, it was a magical experience.
“Yeah, probably the most special,” Condon told reporters. “Had a lot of friends and family here tonight. And, yeah, Bruins, Habs, Gillette Stadium, New Year’s Day, I don’t think you could script it any better.”
The script to Condon’s season began in September when he beat out Dustin Tokarski for the backup position behind Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, the reigning Hart Trophy winner as the league’s MVP.
However, Price has been limited to 12 games this season because of injuries, thrusting Condon into the spotlight and the Massachusetts native duly responded with a decent 11-9-3 record.
The Canadiens built leads of 1-0 after the first period and 3-0 after the second before Matt Beleskey halted Condon’s shutout bid early in the third period as snow began to fall.
David Desharnais, Brendan Gallagher, Max Pacioretty and Paul Byron, with two goals, scored for Montreal.
To commemorate Friday’s game, Condon had the back of his mask decorated with images of Patriots head coach Bill Belichik and star quarterback Tom Brady, as well as the four Vince Lombardi Trophies the Patriots have won as Super Bowl champions.
“I’m pretty sure anything that Tom Brady touches turns to gold,” Condon said. “So I was pretty happy. Hopefully, got some mojo on my helmet there.
“I’m a huge fan of his, huge fan of this organization, and I’m just happy to pay respect to them on the ice.”
Condon’s father, Ted, is a Massachusetts police sergeant and used to help the Patriots on security detail.
He performed the same role for the Canadiens at practice on Thursday, but was with his family tailgating in the parking lot before Friday’s game and then joined more than 67,000 other fans in the stands.
The Winter Classic also marked the return of Montreal forward Gallagher after a 17-game absence because of two broken fingers he suffered while blocking a shot. Without Gallagher, the Canadiens went a dismal 5-11-1.
Reporting by Tim Wharnsby in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes