We are nearly five hours away from yet another showdown between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This is the third time in four years that the two teams have met in the first round. In 2008, the top seeded Habs downed the Bruins in seven games, but the Black and Gold easily swept their arch rivals the very next season.
Here are the projected lines for each team:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley-Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Mike Cammalleri-Tomas Plekanec-Andrei Kostitsyn
Mathieu Darche-Scott Gomez-Brian Gionta
Travis Moen-Lars Eller-Tom Pyatt
Benoit Pouliot-David Desharnais-Ryan White
Roman Hamrlik-James Wisniewski
Hal Gill-PK Subban
Jaroslav Spacek-Brent Sopel
Keys to a Bruins win
It’s no secret that the Bruins can do some damage when they score the first goal, especially against Carey Price. Although Montreal had a dramatic come from behind overtime win over the B’s back in January, one that Boston blew a 2-0 lead late in the third period, the Black and Gold seemed pretty comfortable gathering some goals in their two wins over Montreal, where they scored first. A goal in the first period would help ease some pressure off Tim Thomas and put pressure right away on the Canadiens and their former first round pick from 2005.
In the two wins this season, the Bruins used their strength and size to their advantage and easily pushed the Habs around all over the TD Garden ice. Montreal is a skilled team with a lot of speed and Boston has the counter to that. Question is, which — or whom — will prevail?
Although the Bruins’ power play has had some success against Montreal this season, they are going to need to shoot the puck with the man advantage. Granted the PP has improved recently, but as many know this has been the Achilles heel the last two playoffs and was a major reason to why the Bruins didn’t advance further in the playoffs. We’ll see if the Black and Gold can breakthrough on the power play with Tomas Kaberle quarterbacking the unit.