They say that time heals all wounds. In some cases, that may be true. But not when you are talking about the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. These bitter enemies do not dislike each other. They hate each other with a passion. Sure there are many rivalries in the NHL and in pro sports. However, they pale in comparison to the animosity between these Original Six iconic franchises. Fans at the Bell Centre should be in for an early Halloween treat, as the Bruins are in town as the Habs finally return to La Belle Province for their 2014-2015 Home Opener.
In what is sure to be an electric atmosphere on hockey’s grandest stage, the Bruins will certainly be out for blood. The Habs dispatched of the Bruins in a thrilling 7 game series in the 2nd round of last year’s NHL Playoffs. The hatred between the clubs even spilled over into the ceremonial handshakes. The Bruins Milan Lucic alleged that Canadiens defenseman, Andrei Markov, made some snide remarks, which certainly drew the ire of the Bruins rugged forward. Things also got very heated between Lucic and Habs forward, Dale Weise, who was a thorn in the Bruins side throughout the series. Lucic even reportedly told Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin, "I will kill you next year!" All of this took place after the Habs and Bruins had laid it all on the line in what was yet another classic playoff series between the B’s and the Habs.
Tonight’s affair will undoubtedly be a continuation of this ever-boiling feud. Habs defenseman, P.K. Subban will not have to worry about Shawn Thornton squirting water in his face from the bench, but he will definitely be a marked man by Boston. Subban, along with the clutch goaltending of Carey Price, were the difference makers in the series win over the Bruins. The Habs have gotten off to a 3-1 start this season, but are coming off a 7-1 drubbing at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. The Habs will also be looking to get their vaunted power-play in gear, as they have opened the season 0-14 with the man advantage. The Bruins will be playing their traditional brand of physical hockey, but they would be well advised to stay out of the box, and to avoid any unnecessary penalties. The Habs PP was also a key factor in their success versus Boston last year.
The Bruins stumbled out of the gate, dropping three of their first four contests, but are coming off a win last night in Detroit. They will look even their record tonight in a challenging venue with a raucous crowd. Maintaining their composure, as always, may be easier said than done. Clearly, the Bruins will be out for revenge, but if they allow their emotions to get the best of them, they will be playing right into the hands of the Canadiens.
The Habs will need to stay focused as well. The pomp and circumstance of a Habs Home Opener is always a sight to behold. The opening ceremonies at the Bell Centre are matched by no other team in the NHL. However, they often have a negative effect on the home team. The Habs will be just as fired up for puck drop as the Bruins, but in the past they have been guilty of sleep walking through the first period after watching the lengthy opening ceremonies. Coach Michel Therrien will have his work cut out for him to keep his troops prepared to come out strong. But then again, it’s the Bruins who are in town. That really should be all that Coach Therrien has to say. Buckle up folks. This one is going to be a dandy!