Beginning Thursday night, for the 32nd time in their history, the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins will face each other in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This is as storied a rivalry as exists in sports — TSN recently listed some of the more memorable meetings over the past forty years — and I’m more than a little bit excited about it.
That said, I give Montreal almost no chance to win. Boston finished first in the east, miles ahead of the Canadiens. The Habs sucked after the all-star break, and seemed to turn it around before struggling down the stretch when the Leafs cheap-shotted their leading scorer and best defenseman Andrei Markov, knocking him out of the lineup. The Bruins owned the Canadiens this year.
But…when these two teams meet, it can always get crazy. Last year the roles were reversed — Montreal #1, Boston #8 — and it took Montreal all seven games to finish them off. Their final regular season game, last Thursday, was a classic and went to overtime before Boston won. In the past few years Montreal beat Boston as both an 8 seed (2002) and a 7 seed (2004). So I think the odds are against them, but if Alex Kovalev and Carey Price can turn it on, Montreal could pull off the shocker.
Final note, courtesy of Joe: the Bruins have some awesome tv ads: