BOSTON -- After eliminating the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 4-2 win in Game 5 on Saturday at TD Garden, the Boston Bruins will now face the Montreal Canadiens.
This is the first season with the NHL's new bracket-based playoff system, so after the Canadiens swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in four games, the Bruins knew if they beat the Red Wings, the hockey world would get its wish for a playoff matchup between Boston and Montreal.
Second-round series dates and times have yet to be announced.
This will be the 34th lifetime series between the Bruins and Canadiens, fourth since 2008. These teams last faced each other in the playoffs in 2011, when the Bruins prevailed in a dramatic seven-game, first-round series and went on to win the Cup that spring.
Bruins forward Milan Lucic said he's looking forward to the matchup.
"Yeah, definitely," he said. "It's the fourth time now since 2008 that we faced them here in the playoffs, first time that it isn't a first-round matchup, so another Original Six battle that we get to be a part of and a lot of hatred between the teams, the fans, the cities when it comes to this kind of rivalry, so we expect them to bring their best. We saw what they were able to do in the first series, and we got to be prepared to come out and elevate our game as the playoffs move on."
In the 2011 series, the Canadiens won the first two games on TD Garden ice before it shifted to the Bell Centre in Montreal. The Bruins won Game 3 4-2, and with two days off before Game 4, Bruins coach Claude Julien decided it would be best for his team to spend a few days away from all the hoopla in Montreal, so the Bruins set up camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., for some team bonding.
In Game 4, the Bruins defeated the Canadiens 5-4 in overtime to even the series at two games apiece. Boston won Game 5 in overtime 2-1 before losing Game 6 in Montreal 2-1. Boston finished Game 7 with a dramatic 4-3 win when Bruins forward Nathan Horton scored in overtime.
After Saturday's win over the Red Wings, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was already in shutdown mode when asked about the Canadiens.
"I think people tend to make it a huge deal outside our locker room, but we've learned over the years to keep the focus on us," he said. "We get better results, so for me and for everybody else, I think it's just another series we want to win, and [we're] looking forward to it. They have a great team, so it's going to be tough, but we'll see."
This season, Montreal had a 2-1-1 versus Boston. The Bruins are 6-4-2 in their past 12 games overall against the Canadiens, and 4-3-2 in the past nine matchups on TD Garden ice.
"They're a quick team. They're a talented team, so I'm sure it'll be entertaining for the fans," said Rask, who has a 3-10-3 career record against Montreal.
Added Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron, "It's always great to play these guys. Detroit was definitely a great challenge, same thing with Montreal. They're a great team. They're a team that definitely is playing some great hockey right now. They played well against Tampa. It's going to be a good challenge again for us. There's lots of history behind both teams, so it's going to be fun to be part of it."