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Iginla, Johnson Get First Taste of Bruins-Habs Rivalry

Monday, 09.16.2013 / 6:01 PM
By Caryn Switaj - BostonBruins.com / Bruins Blog
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Iginla, Johnson Get First Taste of Bruins-Habs Rivalry

BostonBruins.com - Two new Bruins - Jarome Iginla and Chad Johsnon - will debut in the Black & Gold tonight at the Bell Centre, and they'll be introduced to the Original Six aura right away.

"Yeah I was asking Looch," Iginla said, of his curiosity to know more about the storied Original Six rivalry. "I had an idea but it’ll be neat to see it up close and be a part of it."

"He said that, even in exhibition, it gets pretty charged in there, when they play the here, it gets pretty charged, too."

It's always a unique atmosphere, whether at the Bell Centre or in the confines of TD Garden. And since we don't always see the sharpest games during the preseason, with the B's - and 29 other NHL teams - getting up to speed and getting their timing back, the rivalry should help to ramp up the pace.

"It’s fun; summer, you know, is a shorter one for everybody, but it feels long when you’re waiting for your next game, so it’s good to get back at it," said Iginla.

"It’s preseason but once you start playing, you absolutely want to do things right and you want to win. It’s always fun to win games."

Paille- I'm sure he knows just with the atmosphere in the playoffs, but obviously I"m sure he's going to be a little bit surprised with the enthusiastic atmosphere between our fans and theirs.

Paille - I don't think there's any question about it; even though it's going to be our first game, a few kinks in there, everyone's going to try and bring out the speed that it would be in mid-season, so definitely a game like this brings that atmosphere out right away.

Goaltender Chad Johnson, who will split the game between the pipes with Malcolm Subban, is also itching for his first Original Six experience. The netminder has spent the 2012-13 season in the Phoenix Coyotes organization, following three seasons with the Rangers. He's known the Boston-Montreal rivalry well, but has never experienced anything like it firsthand.

"You watch a lot of games and this is one of the big rivalries. Being from Canada, I know this is a big one - CBC used to always broadcasts these games because they obviously mean a lot to both teams and there’s obviously history here," said Johnson.

"So to be able to play in this game and to be my first game as a Bruin against the Habs is going to be very exciting for myself, in getting ready to start the year off."

The flow of practices during training camp help the goalies get their timing and quickness back, much like the skaters, but even with instrasquad scrimmages, nothing can replicate games.

"It’s nice to get out there and get the flow of a game and different situations," said Johnson, who still expects a fairly "scrambly" and uncontrolled game. "And that’s the key I think for exhibition games. You get your bearings and get back into that game mode, especially early on."

Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien is more than ready to see his B's in game situations, having said during camp it's difficult to evaluate all players during practices, without the pressure and speed of the game.

Alas, the rowdy Habs Nation will force the Bruins - vets and young prospects alike - right into the heat of the game.

"It is, it’s always going to be sold out right? So it’s a great place to start," said Julien. "I think these two always play entertaining games and, again, I suspect it’s going to be a lot of the same thing."

Habs Vets vs Younger B's

Julien also knows that a slew of veterans will be in the Habs' lineup tonight, including Max Pacioretty, Danny Briere, David Desharnais, Josh Gorges and P.K. Subban, while the B's will be sporting a bit younger roster.

Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Daniel Paille, Shawn Thornton and Jarome Iginla round out the Boston mainstays in the forward corps, with Adam McQuaid the only "veteran" on the back end, though he's joined by Torey Krug and Matt Barktowski and players who finished last season with Boston.

"I know they played last night, and I think a lot of their veterans will probably be in the lineup tonight," said Julien.

"We made a decision on our team and we’re going to stick with it."

Paille will likely have Alex Fallstrom (Harvard grad who finished last season with Providence after his college career) as his centerman instead of Gregory Campbell, who stayed back in Boston as he's "very close" to game action but the B's are being cautious with his recovery.

It just gives the opportunity for the likes of Fallstrom and B's prospects to showcase their skills and work ethic amidst the coaching staff and B's brass.

"I think it's important for everyone to kind of make an impression," said Paille. "To just kind of see how everyone gels together, and hopefully we can get a good combination and help out a little bit."

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