BOSTON – When the last time two teams met back on March 8th, the Bruins had a chance to create some distance from the Montreal Canadiens in the Northeast division standings. Instead, the Habs got the best of the Bruins and Zdeno Chara escaped discipline after his hit on Max Pacioretty.
Fast forward over two weeks later where the Bruins’ lead is down to three points in the Northeast in the aftermath of the events surrounding those from two weeks ago, where Chara is still being investigated for his hit on Pacioretty.
Of course, Mark Recchi’s comments during yesterday afternoon’s drive time edition of “Felger and Mazz” on 98.5 The Sports Hub added more fuel between the two hatred rivals, but like the Habs, the Bruins have their focus on the task in hand; two points.
“We’re here to play hockey. That’s all there is to this,” stated head coach Claude Julien. “All this ‘he said, she said’ soap opera…I’m not interested in answering those type of questions. Because in two hours from now there’s a big game to be played and its a big two points for both teams. That’s what my focus is on right now.”
In a usually emotional contest between the two rivals, it is important for both teams to maintain their composure as stated by Milan Lucic.
“From what we saw last game, I think the Montreal Canadiens are just focused on two points, and I think that’s what our focus should be the exact same,” said the Bruins’ 30-goal scorer in 2010-11. “I don’t think it should be about going after anyone or making a statement by going out there and beating them up.
“We can’t let the emotions get the better of us. The real way we can beat them is if we beat them on the scoreboard.”
The Bruins’ only victory against the Canadiens this season came over a month ago when the two teams last met at TD Garden. Not only did the Black and Gold get the best of their rivals on the scoreboard (8-6) back on February 9th, but the two teams also took part in three line brawls also combined for 187 penalty minutes.
Even in the aftermath, there aren’t many fans from either side are expecting a game full of fights, penalties and goals. But at the same time, the two teams have their eye on the bigger picture, especially considering that they could potentially meet in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs (which would be the case if the season ended today).
“I think they are going to play desperate hockey, just like us,” said rookie forward Tyler Seguin. “It’s us versus them.”
Even amidst a 2-3-3 skid in the last eight contests, the Bruins can make a huge statement with a win today, much like they did in their last game; a 4-1 win over New Jersey.
“We need to play more like we did last game,” Julien noted. “[Montreal] is good defensively and somehow we need to get pucks at the net.”
Authors Note: This post also appeared on Inside Hockey