The players don’t start battling on the ice until tomorrow at TD Garden, but the latest postseason installment of the Montreal Canadiens versus the Boston Bruins has already set off a war or words on the interwebs.
In response to Habs blog Eyes on the Prize, which expects “embellishment to be a major part of Boston’s game plan” during the longtime rivals’ second-round series — and has gone to the trouble of providing video evidence to support its case — here’s CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty with a rebuttal:
The proof is in the numbers, plain and simple. The Bruins were dead last in the NHL with 230 power play chances in 82 regular season games during the 2013-14 regular season, and were – yup, you guessed it – dead last in the NHL during the 2012-13 regular season with 122 power play chances during the lockout-shortened 48 season campaign.
In fact the Bruins have consistently ranked from 23rd-30th in the NHL for power play chances under Claude Julien because the Boston coaching staff preaches a non-diving philosophy, and it’s something that Julien, in particular, feels is disrespectful to the game of hockey. It also embarrasses the referees that are trying to do the right thing.
Which team led the entire league in power play chances last season, and had nearly twice as many with 203 power play chances in those 48 games? That’s right, it was Les Habitants.
Yep, this is going to be a fun series.
For what it’s worth, Bruins legend Ray Bourque went on Boston radio this morning and said: “If [embellishing] gets you a call, why not?”
We will now step aside and let the commenters tear this place apart below.
Related: Bruins’ Julien says he ‘hates’ Montreal now that he’s in Boston
Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien’s first head coaching gig came with the Montreal Canadiens, but being on the other end of that rivalry for seven seasons has made his allegiances pretty clear.
His quote to CSNNE.com could be used as bulletin board material if Habs head coach Michel Therrien is really reaching, even if it’s clear that Julien was having fun with the rivalry talk.
“I hated Boston when I was in Montreal, and I hate Montreal now that I’m in Boston,” Julien said with what CSNNE.com described as a wry smile. “You know this is the kind of series where you won’t need to give the players a pep talk, but instead you’ll send a message about managing emotions.”
No doubt about it, the latest installment of one of the NHL’s most storied rivalries should be a lot of fun. Julien seems hopeful that he can channel that hostility in the right direction.
In case you’re wondering, the NHL announced that Game 1 of this series will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday in Boston.
The Boston Bruins believe that forward Daniel Paille will be ready to play in the team’s next playoff game, CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reports.
While the Bruins only deem it an upper-body injury, Haggerty points out that many think it’s a concussion. Paille himself acknowledged that it’s his third head injury of the season, although he indicates that his symptoms haven’t been severe (at least in this case).
“It definitely feels good to get a good, full contact practice going,” said Paille. “Because this was my third [head] injury this year, there were a lot more precautions to go through this time around. I believe I could have played midway through the last series.
“I didn’t feel like I had too many symptoms/injuries, but I had to continue with that process. I heard Claude say that I felt ‘great’ after the first day, and I did. There was no question about that.”
Here’s video of the hit that put him on the shelf on April 12:
He also suffered from concussion-like symptoms in March and December, so it’s easy to see why the Bruins are trying to be cautious with the 30-year-old.
Paille scored nine goals and 18 points with a +9 rating in 72 regular season games with the Bruins this season.
Earlier in Mike Babcock’s days as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, they were one of the best teams in the league. The Red Wings reached the Western Conference Final in 2007 and made the Stanley Cup Final in each of the following two years, with them securing a championship in 2008.
A lot has changed since then for the Red Wings as some of the key players from that era like Nicklas Lidstrom have retired and the next generation is establishing itself. So it didn’t come as a shock that Detroit couldn’t match up against Boston in the first round, but it did give Babcock an opportunity to get a close look at the Bruins and he was very impressed with what he saw.
“This [Bruins] team that we played today is like we used to be in ’08, ’09, and ’07,” Babcock said, per CSN New England. “They’re a legit contender with a good depth and good experience. I think it’s just overall depth.”
Boston showed off its offensive depth in the five-game first round series against Detroit. Ten different Bruins found the back of the net and only three Boston players — Johnny Boychuk, Brad Marchand, and Gregory Campbell — played in all five contests without recording a point.
On top of that, goaltender Tuukka Rask played like, well, Tuukka Rask.
“Some teams have got a real good team, and their goalie gets you started, gets the opposition started,” Babcock said. “This [Rask] kid doesn’t get you started. Not only does he stop the puck, he plays the puck good, so it’s harder to get in on their D.”
With so many different factors working for the Bruins, they certainly look like they’re poised to have a long playoff run.
The Boston Bruins finished off one Original Six team and now they’ll prepare to face another, more familiar one in the next round.
The Bruins finished off the Detroit Red Wings with a 4-2 victory in Game 5. Zdeno Chara’s power play goal with four seconds left in the second period put the Bruins ahead to stay. Milan Lucic’s third goal of the series 4:27 into the third period put the game on ice and helped the Bruins advance in five games.
Henrik Zetterberg’s first goal of the series made it 3-2 with 3:52 to play, but a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty 48 seconds later to Detroit helped seal the Red Wings’ fate. Jarome Iginla added an empty-net goal
Tuukka Rask ended the game with 31 saves and proved to frustrate the Red Wings even when Detroit was able to generate sustained offense. In the end, however, it was the lack of a penalty kill that ended the Red Wings.
The Bruins went 2-for-5 on the power play getting goals from Loui Eriksson in the first period and Chara in the second.
Detroit’s first goal came on the power play in the second period when Pavel Datsyuk put a rebound past Rask. Detroit’s best opportunities came with the man-advantage which says a lot about how well the Bruins played throughout the game.
From the get-go, Boston seemed to be in a different gear and a lot of the puck-luck that went against Eriksson in Game 4 was corrected in Game 5.
Boston moves on to the Atlantic Division Final where they’ll face their archrivals — the Montreal Canadiens. It’ll be the 34th time the two have met in the playoffs.