Bruins: Montreal Canadiens

BOSTON -- Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is human after all.

After leading his team to a 4-3 double-overtime win in Game 1 with a 48-save performance, Price showed his strength between the pipes again early in Game 2 on Saturday at TD Garden. Montreal had a 3-1 lead in the third period, but the Bruins mounted a comeback and scored four goals (one empty-netter) en route to a 5-3 win to even the second-round Stanley Cup playoff series at a game apiece.

[+] EnlargeCarey Price
AP Photo/Charles KrupaCarey Price looks back as Daniel Paille's first-period shot finds the net for a goal.
"It was huge," Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton said. "If we lost that game, the series is pretty close to being over going up there."

Until Hamilton scored at 10:56 of the third to cut Boston's deficit to 3-2, the Bruins had generated just one shot in the period. Hamilton's tally put a hole in the dam, and Price couldn't stop the leaks.

"It was a bit of a relief to get that [first one] by him," Hamilton said. "We got more energy and the crowd got into it. Everything changed, the momentum and the emotion."

Added Hamilton, "We wanted to take his confidence away. We started rolling, and I'm not sure if they started panicking, or what. You hope he starts holding his stick a little tighter.

"With us, once we get that first goal [in the third period], everyone knows it will happen again. It's just a feeling. Everyone turns it up, and we put them on their heels."

Patrice Bergeron tied the game at 3-3 at 14:17 when his shot from the right-half wall ricocheted off Montreal's Francis Bouillon and beat Price.

"They're huge," Bergeron said of getting the bounces. "Obviously, that goal is definitely a lucky bounce, but you need them once in awhile. We didn't get them in the first two [periods], and I finally got him there, but we need to show a little more intensity around the net and really bear down on our chances."

In Game 1, the Bruins missed numerous quality scoring chances. Either the puck sailed wide, or Price made a timely save. It got to a point where even Boston's top-line center David Krejci was left shaking his head in disbelief.

Through the first two periods of Game 2, it seemed that would be the case again.

"It's tough, sometimes, to stay with it when it's not necessarily going your way," Bergeron said. "With that being said, we have to. You have to find a way. You have to keep pushing. You have to keep fighting and that's something we said after the second. We all stepped up and found a way."

Price called Boston's third-period surge "lucky."

"Well, they poured it on at the end of the game," he said. "They got pretty lucky, I thought. They were playing desperate at the end of the game, and they found a way to put it in the net. We've just got to regroup, realize the situation we're in, we're in a good spot and move forward.

For Games 3 and 4, the series shifts to Montreal's Bell Centre, where Price played one of his better games of the season to beat the Bruins 2-1 on Dec. 5, finishing with 32 saves in his only regular-season appearance against Boston.

The Bruins' task will be tough, but now they have the confidence they can beat him.

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins erased a two-goal deficit in the third period en route to a 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 2 of the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.

The Bruins' Reilly Smith scored the game-winning goal at 16:28 of the third to give Boston the win and even the best-of-seven series at a game apiece.

Boston also received goals from Daniel Paille, Dougie Hamilton, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic (empty net), and Tuukka Rask finished with 25 saves.

The Canadiens' Thomas Vanek scored a pair of goals, and Mike Weaver also scored for Montreal. Goaltender Carey Price finished with 30 saves.

Before Boston's third-period comeback, the Bruins weren't at their best to start. When they did create chances, Price made timely saves.

The Bruins failed to capitalize on a one-minute 5-on-3 and generated only two shots during the power play.

On the ensuing even-strength shift, the Canadiens controlled the play in the offensive zone when Montreal's Max Pacioretty had an off-post chance, but Rask slid across and made a left-pad save to preserve the stalemate. The Bruins then scored the first goal of the game less than three minutes later.

Paille gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead when his shot from the slot ricocheted off Montreal's Francis Bouillon and beat Price at 13:02 of the opening period. Carl Soderberg made a strong pass from the corner to Paille, who was able to get off a wrister for his first goal of the playoffs.

Early in the second period, Montreal capitalized on a turnover in the neutral zone and tied the score at 1-1. The Bruins' Brad Marchand controlled the puck at the offensive blue line, and, instead of getting the puck deep and going for a line change, he held the puck before it was stripped away. The Canadiens gained the zone and created a scramble in front of Rask, before Weaver provided the tying goal at 1:09.

The Bruins kept applying pressure, but every time they created a quality scoring chance, Price would come up with a timely save.

Late in the second period, Montreal scored a 5-on-4 power-play goal to take a 2-1 lead. Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was exhausted after killing off a 4-on-3 and couldn't clear the puck as Montreal gained control before Vanek notched the go-ahead goal at 18:09.

In the third period, Montreal again scored on the power play to gain a 3-1 lead. P.K. Subban took a shot from the point, and Vanek redirected it past Rask at 6:30.

Hamilton cut Boston's deficit to one goal at 10:56 of the third period when his snap shot from just inside the blue line made its way through traffic and beat Price.

Boston wasn't done.

The Bruins tied it when Bergeron's shot from the right half wall ricocheted off Bouillon and beat Price to the short side at 14:17 of the third.

Smith scored the game winner after he received a pass from Torey Krug and beat a sprawling Price at 16:28 of the third period. Lucic added an empty-net goal with 1:06 remaining in regulation to ice the victory.

The series shifts to Montreal for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday at Bell Centre.

INJURED: Bruins forward Shawn Thornton suffered what appeared to be a right leg injury 22 seconds into the third period. He went into the boards awkwardly after applying a check on Subban between the benches. A team trainer tended to Thornton, and he needed help off the ice and to the locker room. He returned midway through the third period and received a standing ovation on his first shift back.

LINEUP CHANGES: Bruins coach Claude Julien decided to tweak his lineup for Game 2. He inserted forward Jordan Caron as Justin Florek was a healthy scratch. On the defensive side, Matt Bartkowski was a healthy scratch, with Andrej Meszaros paired with fellow defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Florek had played the first six games of the postseason. Caron played the entire first-round series but was a healthy scratch for Game 1 against Montreal with Paille returning from injury.
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The racist tweets of a few bigots do not speak for a fan base.

Those who took to Twitter late Thursday night to decry P.K. Subban because of the color of his skin don't deserve to call themselves Bruins fans.

They don't deserve mention at all, but their expression of a hateful, racist viewpoint cannot be ignored.

Unfortunately, their ignorant views got the attention of the sports world and they ended up representing Boston in the eyes of some, which is a misguided shame. These bigots can hide behind the wall of anonymity social media provide, but they have no place in Boston.

These are not the people who dress up in black and gold and fill the TD Garden every game night. No one among the nearly 18,000 fans Thursday could be heard shouting racial epithets at Subban after his game-winning goal. In fact, in all my years following and covering the team, I have never heard the kind of vile bigotry that soiled the social media landscape Thursday night.

Bruins players say they've never heard it, either.

"I didn't hear anything from the fans -- at all," said Bruins forward Brad Marchand. "It's all Twitter."

Bruins coach Claude Julien also said he hasn't heard any racist comments while he's been on the bench at the Garden, or in any building around the league.

"Not to my knowledge, no," he said. "There's a lot of good fans out there, and that's the sad part about it is that your good fans get tarnished because of a couple of comments like that who don't belong in that same group."

The team is just as disgusted as we all are by those who espouse their bigotry and hide behind anonymous Twitter handles. Bruins forward Milan Lucic has a message for those cowards.

"Take a good, hard look at yourself," Lucic said Friday. "You shouldn't be doing anything like that. I have to play against [Subban], and I would never say [that] and cross that line, and neither should they."

If you think for a second that those who tweeted their ignorance are actually Bruins fans, consider this: Are they also offended by Boston forward Jarome Iginla, who, like Subban, is black?

"Exactly," Lucic said. "Jarome is here, and he's been treated with nothing but respect in Boston since he's been here. All the Celtics and Patriots and Red Sox and all those players that have been here have been treated with nothing but respect. If you're going to make bad comments, stick to hockey comments, not to stuff that crosses the line."

Subban's younger brother Malcolm is a top goalie prospect in the Bruins system. What do those who were so disgusted by P.K. think about Malcolm? I shudder to think what was going through Malcolm's mind when he discovered that people who call themselves Bruins fans were spewing such venom.

These weren't the actions of Bruins fans. Bruins fans were angry after Subban's game winner, sure. A few even littered the ice with debris. But it wasn't because of the color of Subban's skin.

It was the colors on his sweater -- bleu, blanc et rouge -- that got them riled up.

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The foundation has been set.

The Boston Bruins know exactly what it will take to defeat the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Now it's only a matter of going out and doing it.

Game 1 of this series was epic. It lasted into the second overtime before P.K. Subban ended it with a power-play goal to secure a 4-3 win for Montreal. The Bruins had plenty of chances to score more than three goals, but the game turned into a session of missed opportunities for Boston.

The Bruins' top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla just couldn't finish any of multiple quality bids. The trio wasn't alone. Boston's other three lines weren't successful, either.

Montreal goalie Carey Price deserves a stick tap for his 48-save performance. He was outstanding between the pipes. The Bruins' offense is potent enough to break through, and it will.

"I thought we had so many chances, we could have scored like 10 goals [in Game 1]," Krejci said. "But we didn't and hopefully we're saving it for the next game."

Despite the loss, the Bruins were pleased that they were able to create quality opportunities. Montreal grabbed a 2-0 lead after two periods, but Boston responded and controlled the pace of the game. The Bruins need more of that in Game 2.

"Going into next game, I guess the main focus is you don't want to grip your stick too tight and bury those opportunities when you get them," Lucic said. "It sucks losing the way that we did, it was a tough loss to swallow, but you've got to have short-term memory and forget about it as quick as you can and focus on the next one because it's coming soon with a 12:30 game tomorrow. We're excited about it."

[+] EnlargeTuukka Rask
AP Photo/Charles KrupaTuukka Rask expects he'll play better than he did in Game 1's 4-3 double-OT loss.
Despite what Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask says, he does not suck.

He didn't have his best performance in Game 1, but his harsh self-criticism is not warranted.

"When you suck, you suck," he said after the game.

Rask finished with 29 saves, but his counterpart Price was even better in withstanding Boston's attack. Rask was one of the best goaltenders during the regular season and is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. He may have seemed preoccupied in the first half of Game 1, but he responded and his teammates are expecting the same in Game 2 Saturday.

"There's not much you need to say to him," Lucic said. "He's always trying to do whatever he can to be on top of his game. He's a professional when it comes to his preparation. Sometimes he is hard on himself, but that's athletes everywhere. They can be hard on themselves at times, but Tuukka is a world-class goaltender and I know he's going to do whatever he can to have a big, big performance tomorrow."

Since Rask took over the No. 1 job in Boston a season ago, he has bailed out his teammates time and again. After Thursday's game, not one Bruins player or coach Claude Julien was about to blame goaltending for the team's loss to the Canadiens. But his teammates weren't surprised by his self-deprecation.

"That's him. He always has high standards and expecting himself to be at his best all the time," said Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron. "He's been like that for us all year. I thought he was good for us and he always wants to be better. He wants to win games for us and I know he's going to bounce back tomorrow."

Added teammate Brad Marchand, "Tuuks is very hard on himself. He competes very hard and he expects to be his best every night. He played well last night and made a lot of really big saves. I think you've just got to let him do what he does and prepare for the next game."

At the other end of the ice, Price was solid. He made timely saves and was also on the fortunate end as a few quality-scoring chances went just wide or hit the post. The Bruins need more traffic in front of him, because he was able to see too many pucks cleanly in Game 1.

"We can definitely have a few more bodies in front," Marchand said. "It's a lot tougher to see the puck when there are guys battling in front there. He's a very good goalie, so pucks he sees, he's going to stop. We're going to be harder in front."

Rapid Reaction: Habs 4, B's 3 (2OT)

May, 1, 2014
May 1

BOSTON -- P.K. Subban scored his second power-play goal of the game at 4:17 of the second overtime period to give the Montreal Canadiens a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Thursday night at TD Garden.

The Bruins erased a pair of deficits in the third period to force overtime. Boston trailed 2-0 and 3-2 in the final 20 minutes of regulation, before Johnny Boychuk's goal at 18:02 knotted the game at 3-3.

The Canadiens were not affected by their eight-day hiatus between games, while the Bruins suffered through a night of missed opportunities.

In addition to Subban's two goals, Rene Bourque and Francis Bouillon scored for Montreal, while goaltender Carey Price finished with 48 saves. The Bruins could have ended this game numerous times, but Price stood on his head time and again.

For Boston, Reilly Smith, Torey Krug and Boychuk scored, while goalie Tuukka Rask finished with 29 saves.

The tempo was as expected from the opening puck drop. The Bruins had a few early chances, but Price made a couple of timely saves. Montreal gained the first power play of the game when the Bruins' Matt Bartkowski went off for tripping. During the Canadiens' man-advantage, Rask made two big saves on one onslaught, but Montreal gained control of the rebound and Subban gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead at 11:23 of the first period. His shot from the right point made its way through traffic and beat Rask.

The Bruins nearly answered at the 17-minute mark of the opening period but couldn't finish. Milan Lucic and David Krejci exchanged passes in transition, before Krug gained control in the slot. With Price sprawling, Krug showed patience and tried to draw the Montreal goalie out of position, but Price still made the stop.

Trailing by a goal entering the second, the Bruins had a chance to tie it only a minute into the period. Krug threaded a pass to Krejci in the neutral zone, and the Bruins' forward broke in on Price. Montreal's Brendan Gallagher was backchecking and forced Krejci to shoot his backhand attempt wide.

Montreal gained a two-goal advantage a few minutes later. The Canadiens capitalized on a turnover in neutral zone and broke in 3-on-1 on Rask, and Bourque's shot went 5-hole to give Montreal a 2-0 lead at 3:38 of the second period.

Boston finally earned its first power play of the game at 14:16 and nearly capitalized, but Price made a timely save on a Jarome Iginla one-timer, before Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton drilled a shot from the point off the post. Montreal then successfully killed it off and the Canadiens finished the second period with a two-goal lead.

Boston turned it on in the third.

The Bruins had control of the puck in the offensive zone when Smith took a shot from the right faceoff circle along the half wall. Bergeron was setting the screen in front as Smith's shot screamed past Price to the top right corner to cut Boston's deficit to 2-1 at 2:44 of the third period.

The Bruins kept the pressure on and finally knotted the game at 2-2 at 6:30 of the third. In transition, Lucic controlled the puck in the neutral zone and gained the Montreal blue line. He cut into the high slot and fed a pass to Krug, who blasted a slap shot through Price's legs.

Later in the period, Boston had an opportunity to take the lead, but the puck jumped over Lucic's stick in front of Price. Montreal ended up taking advantage.

After a mad scramble in front of Rask, the Canadiens regained their lead when Bouillon's shot from the left point found its way through traffic and beat Rask to give Montreal 3-2 lead at 12:09 of the third.

Boston wasn't done.

With under two minutes remaining in regulation, the Bruins controlled the puck in the offensive zone and Marchand fed the puck back to the point, where Boychuk was waiting. His blast from just inside the blue line beat Price to the top right corner to tie the game at 3-3 with 1:58 remaining in regulation.

The first overtime wasn't lacking for action. The Bruins nearly ended it numerous times but the puck simply wouldn't slide in their favor. Unfortunately for Boston, Daniel Paille was called for tripping with 26.4 seconds remaining in the first OT, giving Montreal its second power play of the game. The Canadiens entered the second overtime with 1:34 remaining on the man-advantage, but the Bruins were able to kill it off.

But the Bruins' Bartkowski was called for holding, and Montreal capitalized.

LINE SHUFFLE: Bruins coach Claude Julien decided to tweak his third and fourth lines to start the third period. He moved Paille up to the third line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson, while moving Justin Florek to the energy line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.

No love lost between Bruins, Canadiens

April, 30, 2014
Apr 30

BOSTON -- Bring on the hatred.

When the puck drops Thursday night on Game 1 of the second-round Stanley Cup playoff series between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, the entire hockey world will be watching. The NHL has been salivating over the possibility of these organizations meeting in the playoffs ever since the league implemented a new bracket-style postseason prior to this season.

[+] EnlargeMilan Lucic and Alexei Emelin
Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesThere's only enmity between the Canadiens and Bruins winger Milan Lucic (left, battling Montreal's Alexei Emelin for position on March 24).
The hockey gods answered the league's wish. This series will be intense, emotional, exciting and should be another classic in this storied rivalry. There's no denying the disdain between the teams. Leading up to this series, players on both teams have been talking about it.

After Boston's practice on Wednesday at TD Garden, Bruins forward Milan Lucic was asked if he hated the Canadiens.

"Yeah, I do," Lucic said with a smile. "If you ask them the same question I'm sure they'll give you the same answer about if they hate us. It's just natural for me, being here seven years now, and being a part of this organization you just naturally learn to hate the Montreal Canadiens and the battles that we've had with them over the last couple of years has definitely made you hate them. This being the first time meeting them outside the first round, I think it's going to go up another level."

This is the fourth time since 2008 these teams have played in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the Bruins have won the past three series. This season, the Bruins are seen as the odds-on favorites to win the Cup, and of all the remaining teams in the playoffs, the Canadiens might be Boston's biggest challenge.

While the Canadiens swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, Boston defeated its first-round opponent, the Detroit Red Wings, in five games. Detroit and Montreal play similar styles, but the Canadiens present bigger challenges for the Bruins.

"We have a lot of respect for Detroit, it was a tough series and they're a good-skating club," Bruins winger Jarome Iginla said. "We felt we're a good-skating club, too, and we were able to get our forecheck going and be physical and those are the same things we want to do now. Each time you [advance] we expect it to be tougher, but at the same time our focus is on the things we've done all year and want to continue doing."


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That means playing physical, being strong on the forecheck and creating havoc in front of Montreal goalie Carey Price. Discipline will be a huge factor for the Bruins, too. Montreal has always done a solid job of getting Boston to cross the line at times. In the four meetings during the regular season, Montreal drew 17 penalties on the Bruins (versus 13 called on the Canadiens).

That emotion will only intensify this series.

"It's a longstanding rivalry and it goes back so far, so many years," said Bruins forward Brad Marchand, the chief agitator. "The fans love it, the media loves it and obviously we love being out against them, but we can't let that get in our way of the real goal and we need to make sure we have a really good game every time we step on the ice."

This series should come down to goaltending. Tuukka Rask hasn't had the best of luck in his career against the Canadiens, posting a 3-10-3 record, along with a .908 save percentage and a 2.63 goals-against average. This season, he posted a 1-2-1 record, along with a 1.94 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage in four games against Montreal.

Meanwhile, Price played only one game against the Bruins this season and posted a 2-1 win on Dec. 5 at Bell Centre. Overall, he's 17-8-3 with a 2.50 GAA and a .919 save percentage in 29 career games against the Bruins.

"The playoffs are always a new season," Rask said. "You never know who you're going to face, and if you want to be the champion you have to beat everybody. We're focused on a series at a time, and now it's Montreal and we're focused on them and trying to get our game where it needs to be in order to advance."

Bruins coach Claude Julien has been on both sides of this rivalry. He spent the early part of his coaching career in the Canadiens' organization, and coached Montreal for parts of three seasons. In Boston, he has helped the Bruins become a perennial winner and has won a Stanley Cup in 2011 and advanced to the finals in 2013 before losing to the Chicago Blackhawks.

This season, if the Bruins want to advance to the Eastern Conference finals, they will first need to beat their bitter rivals.

When asked if he hates Montreal, Julien said: "I hated Boston when I was in Montreal and now I hate Montreal because I'm in Boston, so hopefully that answers your question."

B's looking forward to matchup with Habs

April, 26, 2014
Apr 26

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."

[+] EnlargeLuke Glendening, Tuukka Rask
Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY SportsTuukka Rask gave up just six goals in five games against the Red Wings but has struggled in his career against the Canadiens.
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.

It worked.

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."

Observations: Bruins 2, Canadiens 1

February, 6, 2013
Tuukka Rask had another brilliant performance with 20 saves, David Krejci and Tyler Seguin both scored within the first 2:05 of the third period to erase a 1-0 Montreal lead, and the Bruins maintained first place in the Northeast Division with a 2-1 win at Montreal's raucous Bell Centre. Krejci also added an assist on Seguin's goal and Seguin did the same on Krejci's game winner. P.K. Subban scored for the Habs and goalie Carey Price did his job, stopping 21 of 23 Bruins shots.

BruinsCanadiensRask paves the path: If not for Rask, the Bruins might have been trying all sorts of line changes in the second period. The Bruins were held without a shot until 11:41 into the opening frame, but Rask was up for the task, as he helped his team stem the opening charge of momentum from an amped Habs squad and rocking Bell Centre. The Finnish netminder stopped numerous breakaways and odd-man rushes early on and gave his teammates a chance to find their game and eventually push back. Rask has had to bail his team out a few times already this season, and while the Bruins don't necessarily want to make that a habit, they have to be pleased to know they once again have a goalie who gives them a chance even when they start the game flat.

Julien with a Jack Adams move: Claude Julien won the 2008-09 Jack Adams award as NHL coach of the year, and since then he has gone on to coach his team to a Stanley Cup and, most recently, surpass Don Cherry for career wins behind the Bruins bench. On Wednesday, Julien showed once again why he has become such a successful coach, as he decided to shuffle his lines heading into the third period to spark a dormant offense. Julien had Seguin and Nathan Horton switch spots, putting Seguin with Krejci and Milan Lucic, and Horton with Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell. The move paid instant dividends, as Seguin and Krejci scored consecutive goals to give the Bruins the lead. That changed the tempo of the game, and while the Habs had more scoring chances in the final period, the Bruins took back the momentum and confidence.

Seguin finally breaks through: For the last week or so, Seguin had been a focal point with the media and fans as many wondered what happened to the young gun who had a breakout season last year in leading his team in points and goals. But as Seguin and Julien have repeatedly said, Seguin wasn't playing bad hockey. Their patience paid off as Seguin got his first non-empty net goal, which may finally open the floodgates for Seguin going forward.

Power failure again: The Bruins can brush it off as much as they want -- and, yes, they have found ways to win (even a Stanley Cup in 2011) despite the fact they had an anemic power play -- but they really need to improve on the man-advantage. In a tight goaltending battle like the one Price and Rask waged Wednesday, teams need to take advantage of every power play they can get, and the Bruins -- who went 0-for-4 and are now 3-for-35 on the season -- did anything but, looking better when they were short-handed.

Roster changes as injury bug hits: Besides the big change Julien made heading into the third period, he was forced to juggle his lines heading into the game thanks to the injury bug that is hitting his team right now. With Brad Marchand (undisclosed injury), Daniel Paille (upper body) and Shawn Thornton (concussion) all out, Julien had a much different forwards group heading in. Here's what the lineup looked like to start the game:

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Tyler Seguin
Gregory Campbell-Patrice Bergeron-Nathan Horton
Chris Bourque-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Lane MacDermid-Ryan Spooner-Jamie Tardif

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
Adam McQuaid-Andrew Ference

Tuukka Rask
Anton Khudobin

B's can expect a tougher Habs defense

February, 5, 2013
BOSTON -- The Bruins will take on a much-improved Montreal Canadiens squad Wednesday night at the Bell Centre in a battle for first place in the Northeast Division. One of the reasons for the Habs’ quick turn-around in the standings after finishing last in the Eastern Conference last season has been the successful return of veteran defenseman Andrei Markov, who is tied for the team lead in points with eight in eight games.

The highly skilled Markov has always been one of the most underrated defensemen in the NHL. Due to two knee surgeries that allowed him to play only 65 games in the last three seasons, those around the league may have forgotten just how much of a factor he can be. But don’t count Bruins coach Claude Julien -- who coached Markov in Montreal for two-plus seasons -- in that bunch.

“He makes a big difference. I had Andrei for a few years and he’s been snake-bitten by those injuries,” Julien said of the Russian rear guard. “He is a real quality defenseman. He sees the ice well; he really moves the puck well and he’s got an unbelievable shot. He just controls everything back there and as much as they liked P.K. Subban, there’s a guy with much more experience than P.K. in controlling the puck and moving it around. I know for a fact that as long as he’s healthy, they’re a really good team back there.”

With Markov back as the leader of the Habs’ blue line, Subban and other defensemen like Raphael Diaz -- who also has eight points -- have been able to fall back into their comfort zones and follow Markov’s lead. The result is a more well-balanced defense corps for the Canadiens.

“When you look at their D, they’ve got some guys that can move the puck and some really experienced guys back there,” Julien pointed out. “Francis Bouillon’s come back and he’s been around the league for a long time and he’s a small but sturdy defenseman. They’ve also got some good hitters, [Alexei] Emelin and those kind of guys. They’re well-balanced back there.”

Video: A little luck

April, 28, 2011
BOSTON -- To advance in the Stanley Cup playoffs, a team needs a bit of luck on its side, and the Boston Bruins had their share of good fortune against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Bruins coach Claude Julien addressed that after the club's 4-3 overtime victory against the Habs in Game 7, as well as the play of forward Milan Lucic:

Video: Road wins prove crucial for Bruins

April, 28, 2011
BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins erased a 0-2 deficit against the Montreal Canadiens and eventually won the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 7 on Wednesday night at TD Garden.

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas talks about how winning Games 3 and 4 at the Bell Centre proved crucial to the team’s success this series:

Video: Game 7 heaven

April, 28, 2011
BOSTON -- Bruins president Cam Neely knows the team's history when it comes to Game 7s. Prior to Boston's Game 7 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night at TD Garden, those victories have been few and far between around these parts.

As a player, Neely dealt with those types of losses, so having finally won a Game 7 -- especially against the Canadiens -- is a good feeling in Boston.

Video: First round in the books

April, 28, 2011
BOSTON -- While the Boston Bruins were quietly celebrating their impressive Eastern Conference quarterfinal victory over the Montreal Canadiens, it didn’t take long for them to start thinking about their next opponent: the Philadelphia Flyers.

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference talked about the challenges of first-round series and what a team needs to advance in the Stanley Cup playoffs:

Lucic not banned for Game 7

April, 27, 2011
BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins will have forward Milan Lucic in the lineup for Game 7 tonight at the TD Garden.

There was some thought he could be suspended stemming from his five-minute major penalty for boarding and game misconduct for his hit on Canadiens defenseman Jaroslav Spacek in the second period of Game 6 Tuesday night. But Bruins coach Claude Julien said that's not the case.

"Yeah, Looch is in the lineup. No issues," he said.

Spacek had control of the puck in front of the penalty box area when he quickly got rid of it just as Lucic applied the hit that knocked Spacek to the ice. He remained on the ice for a few minutes and needed to be attended to by a team trainer. He was able to skate off on his own, but was bleeding from the head.

After exiting the ice, Spacek later returned to the game.

Seven keys to Game 7

April, 27, 2011

After losing Tuesday night in Montreal, the Bruins return home tonight for Game 7 against their bitter rivals. The Bruins will be trying to win their first Game 7 since April 29, 1994, when they beat the Canadiens 5-3. Since then, they’ve lost four Game 7s, including losing in the final game in each of the last three seasons. Coach Claude Julien has been unable to guide his team to a Game 7 win, falling in 2008 (versus Montreal), 2009 (versus Carolina) and 2010 (versus Philadelphia).

If the Bruins can pull off the win tonight, they will go on to face the Flyers with a chance to redeem their historic collapse in the playoffs last season, when they blew a 3-0 series lead.

Here are seven keys to victory in Game 7 tonight:

Power play needs to connect: We’ve said it throughout this series and the regular season: The Bruins' power play needs to deliver. Boston is 0-for-19 in the series with the man-advantage, and there is no better time than Game 7 to break that drought. In a deciding game, the referees will most likely let the teams play, so there might not be too many power-play opportunities. But when the Bruins get one, they need to take advantage.

Stay disciplined: The Bruins are clearly frustrated after some questionable calls in Game 6 -- including a five-minute major and game misconduct for a boarding call on Milan Lucic that led to the game-winning goal in the second period. But they can’t let that weigh on them, and they must control their frustrations in Game 7. If things don’t go their way, they need to shake it off and move on. Don’t lose control and end up in the penalty box.

Use the home crowd: The Bruins fought hard all season to get home-ice advantage in the first round, and now they need to make it pay off. They need to use their home crowd and the familiarity of their own rink to their advantage. Feed off the noise and enthusiasm of the fans and set the tone early and often.

Forget the past: The Bruins are human, and chances are past failures will enter their minds. Their recent failures in Game 7s are well-known. They need to forget about any of that. It’s in the past. It’s time to move on, and there’s no better way to do that than with a win tonight against their fiercest rival.

[+] EnlargeChara
Phillip MacCallum/Getty ImagesZdeno Chara has one point in five playoff games this postseason.
Thomas has to be huge: Tim Thomas wasn’t bad in Game 6, but he wasn’t the Tim Thomas that stole the show with 44 saves in the 2-1 win in Game 5. That’s the Thomas the Bruins need in Game 7. When the Bruins have breakdowns, Thomas needs to bail them out. There can’t be any soft goals let in or it will be golf season for him and the Bruins.

Chara needs to lead: Zdeno Chara is a Norris Trophy candidate, but right now the Bruins just need him to lead and be their captain. Chara has never won a Game 7 in his career, and now is his chance to erase those demons and lead the Bruins to victory. He needs to set the tone in the dressing room and on the ice and be a force to reckon with.

Have fun: Following the 2-1 loss to the Habs in Game 6 on Tuesday night, veteran Mark Recchi said he would stress a lot of different points with his teammates before Game 7. But one seemed especially important. Recchi wants them to have fun and embrace the magic of a Game 7. That might be the best advice the Bruins can take right now. They’re clearly gripping their sticks tight and must have some anxiety. Maybe it’s as simple as telling them to embrace the atmosphere of a Game 7 and go out and enjoy it.