BOSTON – The Bruins are a lot of things, most of them good. They’re talented, they’re deep, and they’re tough. When they’re facing the Montreal Canadiens, however, they’re often undisciplined. That doesn’t always put them in the best position for success against their hated rivals.
The lack of discipline was, in part, the reason the Bruins won just one of the four meetings with the Canadiens during the regular season. That’s also sure to be a focal point leading up to the second-round Stanley Cup playoff series between the longtime adversaries.
The Canadiens have a way of getting under the Bruins’ skin. That was evident this season, as the Bruins were whistled for 19 minor penalties in their four meetings with the Habs. Seven of those 19 minors were roughing penalties, most of which were provoked by Montreal.
“Discipline, power play, all that stuff — that’s significant, from a global perspective. That’s significant,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Monday. “There seems to be a lot more penalties called this year in the playoffs, and I would expect that won’t change, so we have to be disciplined.”
The Bruins-Canadiens series should hinge on a lot more than just discipline, though. Montreal tore through the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, and the Habs should present a deeper, tougher roster than the Bruins faced in their five-game first-round series win over the Detroit Red Wings. Montreal’s team speed and offensive ability is a given, but the Habs have also made a point to get bigger and stronger in recent offseasons. That’s part of the reason the Bruins are just 8-9-3 in the regular season against the Canadiens since the 2010-11 season. The B’s also needed seven games to eliminate Montreal in the first round of the 2011 playoffs.
“It’s obviously another difficult (series),” Chiarelli said. “We had — we were mediocre against them during the year, but they’re a team that has given us trouble historically, so it will be a challenge. That way — much is said about their size and their speed and allegedly, that’s what gives us problems. I think that’s part of it.”
It’s important not to put too much stock into regular-season results, though. The Bruins lost three of four against the Red Wings before winning four of five in the the first round. Chiarelli certainly is hoping for a repeat of that in the second round against the Habs.
“I think it’s just sometimes, you just don’t have success against (a team) sometime. Having said that, that applied to Detroit, too, so you see what happens with that,” Chiarelli said. “(Montreal has) some speedy forwards, they made themselves better with (Thomas) Vanek, that line has had some success with Max Pacioretty and (David) Desharnais. Their goalie (Carey Price) is good — very good. So it’ll be a real interesting series, I think. Despite the common belief that speed kills, I think we’ve shown that we have some speed and we have some size and we have experience, so it will be a challenge, but I think we’ll overcome that challenge.”