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Ference apologizes, says he didn't mean to give Montreal fans the finger

Boston Bruins' Andrew Ference (21) celebrates with teammate Patrice Bergeron, after scoring against the Montreal Canadiens during second period Game 4 NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey action in Montreal, Thursday, April 21, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

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Boston Bruins' Andrew Ference (21) celebrates with teammate Patrice Bergeron, after scoring against the Montreal Canadiens during second period Game 4 NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey action in Montreal, Thursday, April 21, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL - Andrew Ference swears he wasn't trying to give Bell Centre fans the one-finger salute after his goal against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Boston Bruins defenceman lifted a glove in the air with the middle finger sticking up after his goal at 9:59 of the second period of the Bruins' 5-4 overtime win on Thursday night.

Such a gesture usually incurs fine or even a suspension from the NHL, but Ference said it was unintentional.

''I just saw it and I know it looks really bad, but I can assure you that is not part of who I am,'' said Ference. ''I apologize.

''That is not part of my repertoire. My glove got caught up there.''

Montreal coach Jacques Martin said he didn't see it and couldn't comment.

Bruins coach Claude Julien also said he didn't see it, but said he heard about it and was surprised because ''that's not Andrew at all. I'm shocked. That's not his style at all.''

Ference's first playoff goal since 2001 cut Montreal's lead to 3-2 as the Bruins erased three deficits to even the best-of-seven series 2-2 heading back to Boston for Game 5 on Saturday.

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