Boston Bruins @ Montreal Canadiens Preview:
Storylines and Keys to Success of Hockey’s Best Rivalry
Gary Bettman and the NHL scheduling staff have decided that tomorrow will be the day the Montreal Canadiens (3-1-0) and the Boston Bruins (1-3-0) will meet for what will undoubtedly be a war on ice. After a full offseason plus since their last matchup (an emotional game seven which resulted in a couple of remorseless death threats…) the Canadiens and Bruins have had plenty of time to prepare for tomorrows match. This game will host several underlying story lines, and each team will have a specific game-plan set in place to ensure their respective success. This article aims to provide some insight on what fans can expect of this Thursdays matchup.
Montreal’s Home Opener
Despite the recent embarrassing 7-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Canadiens have plenty to be happy about. Starting the season on a four game road trip in which the team stole six of a possible eight points, the Montreal Canadiens bring to the Bell Centre a defensively confident team capable of scoring goals from all four lines. The first game of the season in the Bell Centre is always an emotional one, and who better to share that with than the hated Boston Bruins?
The Imminent Lucic versus Weise Bout
Dale Weise poked the bear that is Milan Lucic; from his on-ice intensity, to his surprising success, to his Bruin themed goal celebrations, Weise was able to get under the skin of number 17 in black. He had so much success at his antics that Milan Lucic allegedly muttered the words “I’m going to f—ing kill you next year” to him during the “gentleman’s handshake”. To give him the benefit of the doubt, apparently the General (Andrei Markov) told Lucic to look his teammates in the eyes while shaking their hand. As badass as that is, I know that it would get me pretty rattled up, and at an already emotional time who knows what would come out of my mouth. Regardless of words exchanged in the handshake, it is clear that these two players (and teams) are still not happy with one another, so look for Weise and Lucic to settle their dispute over some knuckle sandwiches and time in the penalty box.
The Return of Krejci
The Bruins announced that David Krejci , who missed the first three games of the season with an undisclosed injury, would return to the lineup on Monday night against the Colorado Avalanche. Although he was held scoreless, and only had one shot on net, David Krejci will no doubt have a huge impact on the success of the Bruins team. Krejci (28) finished one point shy of 70 having his best offensive year since the 2008/2009 campaign (73 pts). Although the Bruins have gotten off to a rough start, the Montreal Canadiens should not take the recently Krejci-joined roster lightly, as these numbers do not lie.
Boston’s Key to Success
Stay out of the penalty box: The Bruins have been known to be a tad hot headed at times, and this game should push them to their limits. They are a big, fast, physical team that when remains disciplined, is very effective in all aspects of the game. If they are able to stay above the antics of Weise, Emelin, Gallagher, etc. the Bruins should have a very successful game.
Montreal’s Key to Success
Specialty teams: Thus far, specialty teams have been the Achilles heel of the Montreal Canadiens. The power-play anchored by the Markov/Subban pairing has seen glimmers of brilliance but has been unable to achieve the success the Montreal coaching staff believes it is capable of. The penalty kill hasn’t been much better, but if the Canadiens are able to work out these special team kinks, they could have a very successful night against the Boston Bruins.
Wrapping it all up…
This is considered by many fans to be hockey’s best rivalry, and with last year’s playoff matchup as evidence, it is as bitter as ever. Boston is eager to settle the score, while Montreal is looking to prove their playoff success was no fluke. Will Boston spoil Montreal’s home opener? Will Montreal be able to get under the skin of the Bruins? Will Lucic f—ing kill Dale Weise? There are plenty of exciting questions heading into tomorrow’s matchup, but one thing can be guaranteed: this game will be an all-out war on ice.
Like my article? Follow me on Twitter!