The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens will square-off in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series on Thursday night at TD Garden. It will mark the 34th postseason meeting between the two sides in what has been arguably the most heated rivalry in NHL history.
Mutual hatred amongst the players in this rivalry is well documented. This series will surely showcase intense, pulse-pounding, back-and-forth physical hockey. It’s guranteed both sides will be gunning to set the tone early. Blood will likely be shed.
“You know you just naturally learn to hate the Montreal Canadiens,” said Milan Lucic when asked if he hated his team’s upcoming opponent.
Despite great regular season success opposite the black-and-gold, Montreal has openly voiced their respect for the Bruins.
Ahead of the much anticipated Game 1 face-off, Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien said the Bruins are the “best team in the league.”
Boston dropped three out of four regular season meetings to Montreal. Though the Presidents’ Trophy winning Bruins did handily beat the Canadiens in their lone victory on March 12, 4-1.
In the first-round of the playoffs, both team’s excelled on the penalty kill. Further success on the kill will be crucial given the goal scorers who are scattered throughout both lineups. Boston killed off 18 of 20 penalties against the Red Wings. Montreal killed off 5 of 7 penalties against the Lightning.
Tuukka Rask has been red hot of late. He saved 146 of 152 shots against Detroit. Rene Bourque has been rolling for Montreal. He netted three goals in their series against Tampa Bay.
Boston’s key to success will be establishing their brand of relentless, physical hockey. If they can beat up Montreal along the boards and through a tight-checking game, a Game 1 win will be in order.
Montreal’s key to success will be avoiding responses to the extracurricular activites that so often take place when they link with the Bruins. Montreal must stick to a finesse, skillful brand of hockey. They cannot become engaged with the bull that Boston is.
Tags: Boston Bruins