NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, May 14th
(All times Eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (3-3) at Boston Bruins (3-3), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - For the ninth time in the storied history of their
rivalry, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens will face off in a decisive
Game 7, as the clubs battle for a berth in the conference finals Wednesday at
The Original Six foes are deadlocked at 3-3 in the Eastern Conference
semifinals and this evening's game in Boston will decide who gets to face
the New York Rangers in the third round. The Rangers earned a spot in the East
finals after beating Pittsburgh, 2-1, in Game 7 on Tuesday night.
No rivalry in major professional sports has featured as many Game 7 battles as
the one between the Bruins and Habs. Montreal is 5-3 in Game 7s against
Boston, but the B's claimed the last one with a 4-3 overtime victory at TD
Garden on April 27, 2011. The Bruins, of course, went on to win their first
Stanley Cup title since 1972 after surviving that opening-round series with
This marks the seventh straight season Boston will play a Game 7, setting a
new NHL record. The Bruins were tied with Colorado (1998-2003) for that
All told, Boston is 13-11 in Game 7s but has won four of its last five. The
Canadiens are 13-9 all-time in decisive seventh games and had won four
straight Game 7s before losing the 2011 clash against Boston.
After losing Games 4 and 5 to fall behind 3-2 in the series, the Canadiens
forced tonight's contest by posting a 4-0 home win on Monday. In order to
advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2010, Montreal will
have to win in Boston for the first time since posting a double-overtime
victory in Game 1 of this set.
The Bruins, who are the top seed in the East and the defending conference
champions, are 4-2 at TD Garden in this postseason. The club rallied for a 5-3
win in Game 2 and recorded a 4-2 win in Saturday's Game 5.
"Go home, and get the job done," said Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron about
tonight's decisive battle. "We have to -- it's about using (the fans) to our
advantage in Game 7. That's why you work for the home ice. You've got to go
home and be ready."
Carey Price stopped 26 shots for his first shutout of the playoffs in Monday's
Game 6 at the Bell Centre. Thomas Vanek scored twice, Max Pacioretty had a
goal and an assist, and Lars Eller scored the other goal for the Canadiens.
"At the end, we came out hard," said Vanek. "They played hard too, had some
push-backs, but Price played great, as he has for all the series. We found
some ways to score tonight."
Montreal's Nathan Beaulieu recorded an assist while making his NHL postseason
debut in Game 6. Beaulieu, a 21-year-old defenseman, replaced Douglas Murray
in the lineup and made a big impact when he sprung Pacioretty on a breakaway
early in the second period. Pacioretty scored on Boston's Tuukka Rask to
record his second goal of the playoffs and first since getting the game-winner
in Game 4 of an opening-round sweep over Tampa Bay.
"There were no passengers in this room tonight," said Pacioretty. "I got a
bounce and waited for my chance. There was a bounce there and it landed on my
Rask gave up all four goals on 28 shots for the Bruins, who were blanked for
the second time in these playoffs. Boston also was shut out 1-0 by Detroit in
the opener of the conference quarterfinals before winning the next four games
to take the series.
"We should have had the momentum in this game," said Rask. "I don't think it
carries over from the last game, as long as you regroup after a loss. How we
handle it is how we prepare for the next one. We can't forget about what
happened tonight. At the end of the day, I thought we played a pretty solid
game, but we gave them some gifts."
Boston holds a definite edge in terms of Game 7 experience, as Bruins captain
Zdeno Chara leads all players in this series with 10 appearances. Bergeron and
fellow Bruins forward Milan Lucic are next with eight Game 7s apiece.
Brian Gionta leads Montreal with six Game 7s and the Habs captain is confident
the less experienced Habs can pull off the series upset with a road win on
"We've felt confident all series against these guys," Gionta said. "We know we
can bring it to them when there's no tomorrow. There's nothing to be afraid
Montreal forward Danny Briere was back on the ice after being a health scratch
for Game 5. He played just over 10 minutes in Game 6 and didn't record a shot.
Briere, however, has played in four Game 7s and has two goals and three
assists in those tilts.
Bergeron and Lucic lead all players in this matchup in Game 7 scoring. They
each have four goals and two assists, while Boston's Brad Marchand has two
goals and three helpers over five Game 7s.
Price and Rask are each 1-1 in Game 7s. Montreal's netminder has a 1.91 goals
against average and .932 save percentage in those outings while Rask has a
3.87 GAA and .855 save percentage.
This is the 34th playoff meeting between these teams, and while Montreal has
won 24, Boston has won the past two series, which includes the seven-game
battle in 2011.
05/14 10:26:20 ET