With Winter Classic win, Canadiens ‘turned the chapter on’ a miserable December

FOXBOROUGH — Montreal captain Max Pacioretty was hoping that the “big stage” of the Winter Classic would be the perfect catalyst for his struggling Canadiens.

He wasn’t disappointed.

“It really felt like just a new year,” Pacioretty said after the Habs blasted the Bruins, 5-1, Friday at Gillette Stadium.

“We turned the chapter on the last month. We don’t want to think about December. We want to think about 2016.”

Montreal went 3-11-0 in December, unable to maintain its winning ways without injured stars Carey Price or Brendan Gallagher.

While Price remains sidelined, Gallagher returned against the Bruins, scoring once and adding an assist on a Pacioretty goal. For that, the 23-year-old winger was named the first star.

“Everybody knows the way he plays and why he has success,” Pacioretty said of his bulldog linemate. “It’s because he plays the same way every night.”

“Things that Gally’s doing, not too many players in the league can do those,” said center Tomas Plekanec. “We’ve played so many games together that the chemistry’s there.”

Of course, it was only one game. With some tough opponents coming up, defenseman P.K. Subban wasn’t about to proclaim the end of all of the Canadiens’ problems.

“We’ll have to see,” said Subban. “This is a tough league. You want to use momentum whenever you can, and try to build off wins. And we’re going to try to do that.”

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