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A Historical Matchup: Boston vs. Montreal

Wednesday, 04.15.2009 / 8:33 AM / Features
By Angela Latona  - Intern | BostonBruins.com
Mark Recchi, left, shoots his game-winning overtime goal past goalie Carey Price (31), Thursday April 9. (AP Charles Krupa)
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BOSTON, MA --
Everyone knows the old adage: history repeats itself.

And if history is any indication, then the East’s top-seeded Boston Bruins should have an emotional playoff series against the no. 8 Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the NHL playoffs, which kick off this Thursday at the TD Banknorth Garden.

The two teams have faced each other six times this season alone, with five of this year’s contests going into the Bruins’ ‘W’ column, with three decisive victories and three going into extra minutes.

But despite a winning record against their so-called archenemies, the Boston team knows that there are no guarantees going into this first round. As the postseason approaches, no team is a surefire bet -- even when they finish regular season play at the top.

Take, for example, last season.

The Montreal club went eight-for-eight in their regular season efforts against Boston, but, come playoff time, the series lasted a grueling seven games as the then-eighth ranked Bruins overcame what was a statistical nightmare and took the Habs to the brink. 

“I’m not big on stats…What’s going to count is what happens on the ice,” head coach Claude Julien told the media after practice Tuesday morning.
“I hear all this stuff, history of the two organizations and the number one seeds. I mean, everybody has to write something, but we don’t have to listen to it, we just have to go out there and play.” - Claude Julien

And if it’s anything like this year’s Bruins-Canadiens games, play they will; and probably with a tad more emotion than even B’s General Manager Peter Chiarelli would like to see.

“There will be an element of managing that stuff [fighting], and I’ll leave that up to Claude,” Chiarelli said on a conference call on Monday. “I think it’s a function of staying out of the box and managing our emotions.

“I expect a passionate series on both fronts, so it’s something I think will help motivate us. It will help motivate Montreal as well, but I think the fact that we have a history with them will certainly motivate both sides.”

The two teams do have a long and sordid history, and even as recently as last Thursday’s final regular season home game, there are routinely ironic clashes. Last week, Montreal staged a comeback, and despite falling in OT, the Habs garnered the requisite one point off of the night and officially clinched a playoff berth in Bruins territory.

The game was also memorable for it’s combined 76 penalty minutes and the continuous scrums that developed all over the ice. However, it’s not necessarily Montreal’s pugilistic abilities that the B’s are most worried about – after all, this is the same Canadiens team that finished last season atop the Eastern Conference and was picked by many to repeat.
 
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
“They [the Canadiens] came into the season very highly touted, and they hit their bumps along the way, but they’ve performed well at the end to secure a playoff spot,” Chiarelli said. “Their skill is very good, so you can’t ignore it.”

But the fact remains: the history of the series it is of no concern for coach Julien’s men.

“You got to close the book on what’s happened in the past [because we have] to start over again because this is what this game’s all about,” he said. “Improve yourself: day in, day out.

“Living on reputation doesn’t do much for you if you don’t do the job.”

And so begins the road to the most coveted prize in hockey.

“It’s electric,” Chiarelli said of the most heated of pro hockey’s rivalries. “I don’t think it’ll be anything less when we start on Thursday.”

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
3 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
4 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
5 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
6 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
7 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
8 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Krejci 80 19 50 39 69
P. Bergeron 80 30 32 38 62
J. Iginla 78 30 31 34 61
M. Lucic 80 24 35 30 59
B. Marchand 82 25 28 36 53
R. Smith 82 20 31 28 51
C. Soderberg 73 16 32 4 48
Z. Chara 77 17 23 25 40
T. Krug 79 14 26 18 40
L. Eriksson 61 10 27 14 37
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 36 15 6 .930 2.04
C. Johnson 17 4 3 .925 2.10
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