It’s an old rivalry that fans across New England and Quebec know quite well. Two of the original six teams that have met more times in the playoffs than any other teams in NHL history.
On one hand we have Montreal, a city that lives and dies by their beloved Canadiens. On the other, there’s the proud city of Boston who bleed black & gold.
Every time these two teams step on the same ice surface, there’s a certain atmosphere that surrounds them. The history of the great rivalry comes back to everyone’s mind, and it makes for quite the spectacle.
A playoff series just makes it all that much better. Both of these teams have proven they are in terrific shape to make a run at the Stanley Cup. Whoever wins this series, will not do so quite easily.
The Boston Bruins are coming off a hard-fought series victory against the Detroit Red Wings. While the series ended in five games, Detroit certainly gave Boston some nail-biting moments. Hockey is a game of inches, and the Bruins were able to push a little harder than Detroit in the first round.
Now comes the preparations for what should certainly be a lengthy series with the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs are coming off a quick four-game series victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, who relied too heavily on key offensive players to be a strong opposition for Montreal. Having some extra days to rest will certainly mean the Canadiens will come out hard and fast right from game one. With the Bruins ending their first round series quickly as well, they also give themselves a chance to regroup and prepare for the next round.
The Bruins received some good news today in practice, as forward Daniel Paille has been cleared to play with the team. Head Coach Claude Julien was reluctant to comment on if he will become a factor in the upcoming series:
“We’ll see where we are guys. The series hasn’t started yet and we haven’t made any decisions yet. So let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here.”
The fourth line of Paille-Campbell-Thornton has become a great asset to the Bruins, especially come playoff time when the team is looking for some energy in a long series. There’s no doubt that having Paille back in the lineup is great news for Boston, however the play of young forwards Jordan Caron and Justin Florek in round one have given Boston some good options.
In the playoffs, you expect to see a certain level of play from the veterans who have proved themselves; but when some younger stars step up, it can be an incredible boost for a team. Julien takes note on the development of defenseman Dougie Hamilton this year and how he has become a force in the postseason:
“I think it has been steady progress all year long and I can honestly tell you he was very impressive in that first round. His play was probably at the top of his game from what we know him to be.”
Boston will need all the help it can get when going up against a fast and dangerous Canadiens team in round two. If the Bruins can maintain their strong defensive play, and Tuukka Rask continues to offer grade A support in net; they will give themselves a great chance at returning to the Eastern Conference Final.
The series will begin on Thursday night in Boston, 7:30 start time.
You won’t want to miss this.