Max Pacioretty, Dougie Hamilton

PHT Morning Skate: Habs, Bruins play historic ninth Game 7

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After last night, we know that the Chicago Blackhawks will extend their defense of the Stanley Cup to the Western Conference Final at a minimum and the New York Rangers will play in the Eastern Conference Final for the third time since their championship 1993-94 campaign.

Who those squads will play remains to be seen, but we won’t have to wait for much longer to find out..

Game 7: Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins [Series tied at 3-3] (7:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

This is the ninth time Montreal and Boston have played each other in a Game 7, which is the most in the history of North American pro sports, per NHL.com. The rivalry between these teams might be old, but they don’t have to thumb through an NHL history book to find reasons to play with intensity tonight.

The heated finish of Montreal’s 4-0 victory over Boston Monday night wasn’t about the days of the Original Six.

After the game, Bruins coach Claude Julien fought against the notion that Boston was the instigator of that melee and challenged the idea that the Bruins are the villains in this series. Either way, that incident will likely be on both teams’ minds going into tonight’s game at the TD Garden. Which would probably be fine by Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.

“I hope their crowd is louder than in here [Bell Center.] I hope it gets nasty,” Subban said, “I hope it gets dirty because at the end of the game when you’re shaking hands, whoever wins, that’s what the feeling’s all about.”

Game 6: Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings [Anaheim leads series 3-2] (9:30 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Ducks broke the trend of the home team losing in this series with their 4-3 victory on Monday. Now the Los Angeles Kings will face elimination for the fifth time this season.

“To win four games against [the Kings] is going to be the toughest job this team will ever face,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said, per the Los Angeles Daily News.

Certainly the Kings have been in worst situations before. They fell behind 3-0 against the San Jose Sharks and managed to win four straight to advance to the second round. So what’s two in a row?

Rookie goalie John Gibson is likely to be back between the pipes tonight for the Ducks after he earned a 28-save shutout in Game 4 and stopped 39 shots Monday night. His potential was recognized long before this series started, but he’s still just 20 years old and these games are only going to get harder.

“A lot of pressure on him now,” Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said. “A lot of pressure on him.”

Then again, he won’t be doing it alone. He’s got an experienced team in front of him that’s proven time and time again capable of standing up to a fierce opponent like the Kings.

Julien: Bruins are ‘perceived like the bad guys, and they’re the good guys’

melee
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The Montreal Canadiens earned a decisive 4-0 victory over the Boston Bruins tonight, but before that could become official, things got heated between the two bitter rivals.

A major melee erupted at 19:36, which led to Boston’s Jarome Iginla and Montreal’s Mike Weaver receiving game misconducts. You can view the incident here:

At first glance, it looks like the incident escalated from Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara’s actions, and the way the penalties were assessed (16 Bruins penalty minutes to 12 Montreal) seemed to reinforce the notion that the Bruins were the instigators.

It’s a notion, though, that Bruins coach Claude Julien took exception to.

“All I said was that we’re perceived like the bad guys, and they’re the good guys,” Julien said, per ESPN’s Mike Cole. “When Markov trips Chara and puts his stick between his legs, somebody’s going to react, whether it’s right or wrong, Zdeno reacted and then everything else happened. There was a slewfoot before, Desharnais on Marchand. It was a slewfoot. Those are things we keep talking about that are dangerous in our game.

“It’s a rivalry and there are some things going on on both sides. I’m not portraying ourselves as innocent here, I’m just saying it takes two teams to tangle and that’s what happened.”

The Canadiens certainly seemed eager to pin the blame on Boston with a jab via Twitter. The fans at Montreal’s Bell Centre got in on the action too, throwing white towels at Chara and Bruins forward Milan Lucic as they left (courtesy of The Score’s Katie Flynn):

source:

With both team’s seasons on the line, this intensity should carry over into Game 7.

Habs’ complete effort vs. Bruins forces Game 7

Lars Eller Tuukka Rask Torey Krug
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After Boston’s superb performance in Game 5 on Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens responded in kind tonight with a 4-0 victory, forcing a Game 7 of their opening round series on Wednesday at TD Garden.

Canadiens netminder Carey Price was great when he needed to be, turning aside all 26 Bruins shots en route to his first shutout of the 2014 postseason.

Price had some help midway through the third period, though, as forward David Desharnais was able to knock the puck off the Canadiens’ goal line. The 27-year-old forward has struggled offensively in the postseason, but he made a big impact tonight with that one play.

Desharnais also added an assist and provided a spark to Montreal’s two big guns — Max Pacioretty and Thomas Vanek — both of whom were huge on Monday night. Pacioretty had two points, including his first goal of the series, while Vanek scored twice and now has five goals through 10 playoff contests.

As for the Boston side of things… Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask obviously didn’t match Price statistically, but he did hold his own in this contest. It’s fair to say his defenders could have done more to make this night pleasant for him.

Early in the first period, rookie blueliner Kevan Miller mishandled the puck, which led to Montreal forward Lars Eller’s goal just 2:11 in. In the second period, defenseman Zdeno Chara arguably could have done more in a race with Pacioretty, which resulted in the Canadiens’ second goal.

Just 2:15 minutes later, Vanek made it 3-0 while Bruins forward Gregory Campbell was in the sin bin for high-sticking.

Vanek added an empty netter with 3:56 remaining because of a neutral-zone turnover while Rask was heading to the bench for the extra attacker. To add insult to injury, it counts as a goal against the Bruins goaltender because he wasn’t on the bench yet.

As mentioned above, the series now shifts back to Boston for the deciding Game 7. It’ll be interesting to see how the Bruins respond to their most lopsided defeat of the playoffs and, conversely, how Montreal will deal with playing at TD Garden, where it has lost two in a row.

Video: Bruins rookie Miller’s error gives Habs early lead

Eller goal
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The Boston Bruins’ young defense has been great for the most part in the postseason, but 26-year-old rookie Kevan Miller made a costly error early in Game 6 against the Montreal Canadiens tonight.

Miller couldn’t control the puck behind Bruins’ net and instead chased after it as it slid in front of the goalie crease and towards Montreal’s Lars Eller. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask tried to dive to stop it with his stick, but Eller got it anyways and was presented with an open net. The Canadiens forward took advantage of the opportunity just 2:11 minutes into the game.

You can watch that goal below:

The Canadiens are 5-0 in the playoffs when they score first. Conversely, the Bruins are just 1-3 when they fall behind 1-0. That being said, there’s still a lot of time left and Montreal needs to maintain this lead to keep its season alive.

WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens (Game 6)

Loui Eriksson, Carey Price
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Only one Canadian team made it to the playoffs and that squad is now one loss away from eliminated.

The Canadiens had a 2-1 series lead over Boston with Game 4 in Montreal, but Tuukka Rask stood tall in that critical contest and Bruins forward Matt Fraser was the unlikely overtime hero in his first career playoff game.

That goal shifted the momentum of this series as Boston came out strong in Game 5. Taking advantage of their power-play opportunities, they had a 3-0 lead early in the second period. Montreal rallied back a little, but never got within one goal of the Bruins after that point.

With Montreal fighting for its campaign, two guys to keep an eye on are Canadiens forwards Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais. The duo has been lackluster offensively in the postseason and Montreal will have a hard time winning back-to-back games against a team like Boston unless they break out of their respective droughts.

The game will start at 7:30 p.m. ET and air on NBCSN. You can also stream it online:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Related:

Video: Bruins’ Thornton sprays Habs’ Subban with water during play