We are now just over 24 hours away from the puck dropping in the first round NHL playoff match-up between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, and by all accounts, the series promises to be emotional, hard-fought, tightly checked and everything else that goes along with one of the fiercest rivalries in all of professional sports.
Emotions will certainly play a factor, considering the devastating hit that Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara leveled on Max Pacioretty that left him with a broken neck vertebra and a severe concussion back on March 8.
The two teams have played each other 163 times in the playoffs, more than any other two teams in NHL history. In 32 previous playoff series match-ups, the storied Montreal franchise has won 24 of them. However, the Bruins have won five of the last eight series, including a sweep in the 2009 Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
At one point, the Canadiens completely dominated the playoff rivalry, winning 18 playoff series between 1943 and 1988. On 23 different occasions, the Canadiens have gone on to win the Stanley Cup after beating the Bruins.
While history can be thrown out with any new playoff series, the overall emotions between the two clubs can never be overstated. Veteran forward Mark Recchi clearly understands that, but also knows that emotions need to be checked at the door.
In an interview with NESN’s Naoko Funayama, Recchi said, “We all know this is a great rivalry, and it’s an exciting time for all the fans, but we have to maintain our focus and kind of get in a bubble and worry about what he have to do to play well. If we do that, we’ll be fine.”
While Bruins fans are anxious to see the spoked B’s avenge last year’s embarrassing collapse at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers, getting past the Canadiens is the first order of business.
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