One of the most storied rivals in the NHL will write a new chapter in its history as the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens will meet in the postseason for an NHL record 33rd time when the two Original 6 foes face off in a best-of-seven opening round series of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. The action gets underway Thursday night in Boston when the puck drops for Game 1.
The B's and Habs met 6 times during the regular season with the Canadiens holding a 4-2 edge. In the most recent meeting between the two teams on March 24th, the Bruins skated to a 7-0 victory.
|Thursday, April 14
|at Boston, 7:00 p.m.
|Saturday, April 16
|at Boston, 7:00 p.m.
|Monday, April 18
|at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
|Thursday, April 21
|at Montreal, 7:00 p.m.
|*Saturday, April 23
|at Boston, 7:00 p.m.
|*Tuesday, April 26
|at Montreal, TBD
|*Wednesday, April 27
|at Boston, TBD
At a Glance
On The Ice
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Mark Recchi
Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley - Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle - Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid
On The 9th Floor (Scratches)
"Black Aces" (Practice Squad)
Anton Khodobin (G)
Steven Kampfer (D - Injured)
Michael Hutchinson (G)
Jamie Arniel (F)
Jordan Caron (F)
Zach Hamill (F)
Lane McDermid (F)
Trent Whitfield (F)
Yury Alexandrov (D)
Montreal (based on Boston.com)
On The Ice
Mike Cammalleri - Tomas Plekanec - Andrei Kostitsyn
Mathieu Darche - Scott Gomez - Brian Gionta
Travis Moen - Lars Eller - Tom Pyatt
Benoit Pouliot - David Desharnais - Ryan White
Roman Hamrlik - James Wisniewski
Hal Gill - P.K. Subban
Jaroslav Spacek - Brent Sopel
Jeff Halpern (Injured)
Alexandre Picard (Injured)
Out: Steven Kampfer (knee), Marc Savard (concussion)
Out: Max Pacioretty (neck), Andrei Markov (knee), Josh Gorges (knee),
Doubtful for Game 1: Jeff Halpern (lower body)
Questionable for Game 1: Alexandre Picard (foot)
Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
After losing his starting role to Tuukka Rask last season and having to deal with trade rumors throughout the summer, Thomas regained his position as the B's #1 netminder and turned in a Vezina-worthy season while setting the NHL singe season save percentage record (.938). Thomas has kept the Bruins in games all season and could be called upon to steal a game or two in this series.
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Some consider Carey Price to be a candidate for the Vezina. While I think Tim Thomas is a shoe-in for the award, it is undeniable that Price has had an excellent season for the Habs. The problem is regular season success does not always translate to the playoffs. The young Habs goaltender has struggled in recent playoff appearances and has not won a playoff game since '08. We will see which Carey Price shows up in this series, but if there is one thing we know it is that Price is extremely streaky and can be easily rattled.
Keys to the Series for the B's
Don't Let The Habs Turns This into A Track Meet
The Habs have a significant edge in speed. The Bruins need to neutralize the Habs speedy forwards by playing their puck possession game, avoid turnovers, and playing physical.
Play Bruins Hockey
Let's face it, the Habs are softer than a 90-year-old man watching a Kathy Bates nude scene. They would much rather play a wide open, free-wheeling brand of hockey. The Bruins need to establish a physical presence early in this series. Habs fans, get Neuf-Une-Une on speed dial because this is going to be a physical series.
Don't Take The Bait
While the Habs tend to shy away from honest physical play, they are not against agitating away from the play and after the whistle. The Bruins can't let P.K. Subban and the of rest of the Habs' pests bait them in retaliatory penalties.
Test Carey Price Early and Often
He is fragile. CAAAAAARRRRRREEEEYYYYY CAAAAAARRRRRREEEEYYYY!!!!!
Don't Get Distracted by The 3 Ring Circus
The Bruins need to focus on the game on the ice and not get caught up in all the drama off the ice with the media and fans.
Stay out of The Box
The Bruins are one of the best 5 on 5 teams in the league and one of the areas where Montreal has an advantage is in special teams play. The Bruins will have to be disciplined here to avoid excessive stick work. If that stick goes anywhere near a skate or a leg, you can beat that there will be a Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge sweater sprawled out on the ice and a whistle to follow shortly after.
- The Bruins have decided to get out of Montreal for a few days in between Game 3 and 4 to practice at the Olympic training center in Lake Placid.
- The Bruins have called up 10 "Black Aces". Matt Bartkowski, Steven Kampfer, and Anton Khudobin are with the big club, while the other 7 are practicing in Providence with the AHL coaching staff.
- I have to agree with Kevin Paul Dupont. If the Bruins don't advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, Claude Julien's job is on the line. This is the fourth time that the Bruins have reached the playoffs and he has never got them past the second round. If he can't get them there this year, he is out. Anything less than the conference finals is a disappointment this year. Stop wasting our time with first and second round exits.
- Public Skate open threads will be held as usual on Stanley Cup of Chowder. Like the regular season, we will start a half hour before puck drop.
Evan (Stanley Cup of Chowder): Bruins in 7
I think this one goes the distance with the Bruins advancing with a win in Game 7 on home ice. Home ice is going play a huge role in this series and I would not be surprised if the home team wins each game. The Bruins have struggled lately at Bell Centre and I don't think the Habs enjoy stepping on the ice at TD Garden much either. When you factor in all the recent drama between the B's-Habs, I think this has all the makings of a long, hard fought, entertaining series. I just hope it doesn't wear this team out too early.
Phil (Phunwin): Bruins in 5
I think Boston wins this series without a ton of trouble. Talk all you want about style of play; Boston is a much better team, and the better team usually comes out ahead. They outscored opponents by 51 goals, by far the best in the East and much better than Montreal's meager +7 differential. The biggest reason, maybe the only reason, they weren't the East's #1 seed is regular season overtime. The Bruins stunk in the shootout and at 4 on 4 play, and as frustrating as that was to watch, neither of those are a factor in the postseason. Their penalty kill, a sore point much of the year, played like it was capable of after the Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley pickups (84.7%). This is crucial in this series, because Montreal's best hope is baiting the Bruins into a bunch of dumb penalties and killing them on the power play. They cannot match the Bruins five on five. As for their second best hope, Carey Price could be gassed after dragging that team to the postseason. Take him away, and they're hanging around Ottawa's neighborhood. I say Boston wins in five, with Price stealing one game for Les Glorieux.
Tim, Stanley Cup of Chowder's Emergency Call-up/Black Ace (timmorrison23): Bruins in 5
Let me start off by saying the prospect of a 7 game emotionally draining series with the Canadiens is a double edge sword for me. On one hand it would be awesome entertainment to watch, but I don't like what it does for the chances of a lengthy run for the Bruins. I think that this series will be over in 5 games with the Bruins advancing. I think the Canadiens are too undersized compared to the Bruins forwards and defenseman, and that the Canadiens best defenseman will be watching from the press box due to injuries. I think the Bruins eventually start to impose their will physically and win this series 4-1.