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

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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):

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

Habs’ complete effort vs. Bruins forces Game 7

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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

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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)

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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

Get your game notes: Bruins at Canadiens

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Montreal Canadiens hosting the Boston Bruins starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— With a win tonight, Boston will advance to the Conference Finals for the 2nd straight year & the 3rd time in the last 4 seasons. Prior to their recent run, the Bruins hadn’t reached the Conference Finals since 1991-92, the end of a 5-year stretch in which they made the Conference Finals 3 straight seasons & 4 of those 5 years (1987-88 – Lost SC, 1989-90 – Lost SC, 1990-91 – Lost Conf. Finals, 1991-92 – Lost Conf. Finals).

— Matt Fraser scored the game-winner in Gm 4 for the Bruins & Carl Soderberg opened the scoring in Gm 5 for Boston with his first-ever postseason goal. Despite the Bruins top line – Milan Lucic, David Krejci & Jarome Iginla – not producing at a high level this series, Boston’s 2nd & 3rd lines have come to play against Montreal:

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— The Bruins 3rd line (Fraser – Soderberg – Eriksson) combined for 2goals-4assists in Game 5.
— Krejci, the league’s scoring leader 2 of the last 3 playoffs, has 0goals-1assist in the series.
— Smith leads BOS in goals (3) this series; Marchand/Soderberg lead BOS in points (5) this series.

— Montreal is 1-3 in their last 4 elimination games. In the last postseason series between the Canadiens & Bruins (2010-11 first round), Montreal won the first 2 games of the series (at BOS) then went on to lose 3 straight games before a Canadiens victory forced a Game 7 which Boston won at home, 4-3 in OT.

  • Boston is 20-4 all-time in Game 6s when holding a 3-2 series lead.

— Reilly Smith & Jarome Iginla scored power-play goals 32 seconds apart in the opening 1:36 of the second period in Game 5; the Bruins were 0-8 with the man advantage in the first 4 games of the series. Entering Game 5, Montreal had allowed only 2 power-play goals this entire postseason on 15 opportunities. Smith’s goal also snapped the Bruin’s postseason PP drought vs. the Canadiens going back to a Michael Ryder goal in Game 2 of the 2008-09 first round; Boston was 0-38 on the PP vs. Montreal in playoff competition between those 2 goals.

—  Tuukka Rask leads all goalies in GAA (1.70) & SV% (.940) this postseason & is tied in wins with 7 (Fleury – PIT, Lundqvist – NYR, Crawford – CHI). After allowing a total of 6 goals in 5 gms in the 1st Round, Rask allowed 3+ goals in each of Games 1-3 in this series but has since stopped 62 of 64 shots in the last 2 games.

  • Montreal is still the highest scoring team this postseason (3.22 goals/game) but only produced a total of 2 goals in the last 2 games after scoring 3+ goals in each of their first 7 games this postseason.

—  The team to score first has won each game in this series. Boston is 6-0 this postseason when scoring first; Montreal is 5-0. The Bruins were 41-6-2 (.857) during the regular season when scoring first. The Canadiens were 37-5-3 (.856) when scoring first during the regular season.

— P.K. Subban posted another goal in Game 5, his 4th of this postseason (all this series). He leads the Canadiens, and all defensemen, in these playoffs in scoring (12 points – 5th in playoffs). He has 4goals-3assists in this series.