Clearly the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have a deep-rooted rivalry. But nine years removed from a playoff series and the tension is as high as ever.
Boston eventually went on to win the Stanley Cup. But even after becoming champions after defeating the Canadiens 4-3 in the 2011 Eastern Conference quarterfinals, former Bruins Mark Recchi and Shawn Thornton never could forget the rivalry with the Canadiens — especially Game 7 of the series.
“The whole series was so intense like it always is, Montreal and Boston, and it just got elevated because you’re in a Game 7 and it’s the Stanley Cup playoffs,” Recchi said in an interview with SportsNet. “So, just the emotion and the energy and the passion in games displayed was just incredible to be a part of. And there was a lot of ups and downs throughout the whole game and it just showed you how even everything was throughout the whole year with our two teams.”
Throughout the course of the season, the Bruins faced off against the Canadiens a total of 13 times — six in the regular season, seven in the playoffs. And although the B’s went 2-3-1 during the regular season, Boston beat Montreal when it mattered most.
“This rivalry was everything for my career. I loved playing Montreal, I loved being involved, I loved the fire,” Thornton told SportsNet. “This game … I think I just had the best seat in the house, I think most people in Boston had to pay a thousand bucks, I just got to sit there for free and watch Recch do his thing.”
Of course, Thornton is referencing spending time in the box after a penalty in the first period. Although it only was two minutes, it was enough to make the winger nervous.
“All seven years when I was in Boston, I was afraid to be in the penalty box when we were playing Montreal,” he said. “They always had an unbelievable power play, so you never want to be the deciding factor in a negative way in any playoff game, especially in a Game 7.”
The rivalry isn’t going away anytime soon, either. Prior to the league pausing play this season due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Bruins are up 3-1 against the Canadiens.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images