Michel Therrien didn’t exactly answer today’s question about whether his Canadiens were the underdog heading into their series with Boston, but he did offer this:
#Habs Therrien: “Whether we are underdogs or not, the Boston Bruins are the best team in the league right now.”
— John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) May 1, 2014
Statistically speaking, Therrien’s right. Boston captured the Presidents’ Trophy on the strength of a 54-win, 117-point regular season and easily dispatched of Detroit in five games in the opening playoff round, winning four straight after dropping Game 1.
What Therrien didn’t mention, though, is that his team gave the NHL’s top club fits this season. Montreal went 3-1-0 against the Bruins this year — winning twice at TD Garden — and did it largely with Peter Budaj in net, as the Slovak netminder played in three of four head-to-head contests (Carey Price only faced the Bruins once and won, 2-1, back on Dec. 5.)
It’s easy to understand why Therrien has chosen the above narrative, though. He’s always been adept at positioning his club in whatever light he feels will be advantageous — in the 2008 Stanley Cup Final with Pittsburgh, he spent a good chunk of time telling anybody that would listen about how Detroit was obstructing his players, and accused Chris Osgood of embellishing to draw goalie interference calls (see more here).
That said, he’s not going too far with the “Boston’s better” message.
“We’re confident,” he said, prior to tonight’s game. “Come gameday, we’ve talked enough. It’s time for action.”