By Greg Hudson
There are few forms of hate more vicious than the hatred between the Habs and the Bruins, particularly when the teams meet in the playoffs, an occurrence which is fast becoming a mainstay in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The two teams will meet for their sixth postseason series in the past 11 seasons, and with the quality and temper on both benches, this matchup has explosive potential.
The Bruins impressed in their 4-1 series win over Detroit, with goaltender Tukka Rask earning special plaudits for his outstanding work in front of the net, allowing just 6 goals in the series. Milan Lucic netted three times, and stalwart defender Zdeno Chara chipped in with two goals of his own.
But Chara and his defensive partners will need to be on high-alert against a fast-paced Montreal team that made short work of the highly-touted Tampa Bay Lightning, shutting down star attacker Steven Stamkos for most of the series and finding a way to win close games en route to a 4-0 series sweep. Rene Borque and Brendan Gallagher each contributed three goals, while Dale Weise and Max Pacioretty provided late-game heroics with their only goals of the series.
The key matchup in this series is set to be between Rask and Habs ‘tender Carey Price. Rask is 3-10-3 in his career against Montreal, but Price allowed six third-period goals in the four games against Tampa, which could well play into Boston’s hands if they can maintain a solid fore check into the final 20 minutes of play.
Prediction: Boston in 6. Habs will be tough to beat in Montreal, but the B’s are just too much for Carey Price to handle over a 7-game series.