March 7, 2011

B's ready to resume rivalry with hated Habs

by Jesse Connolly

Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (Getty)

WILMINGTON -- Anyone banking on the Bruins and Canadiens to come close to replicating the entertainment value they provided in their last tilt is probably in for a letdown on Tuesday.

 The Black and Gold dispatched their historic rivals 8-6 at TD Garden in a game that had just about everything a hockey fan could hope for, including 182 combined penalty minutes and a fight between two potential Vezina Trophy nominees in Carey Price and Tim Thomas.

 "It was pretty crazy, especially that second period with eight goals scored, four per side," said Milan Lucic, reflecting on the last clash between these two clubs. "I remember watching the highlights and Jack (Edwards) was saying 'Mercy!'

 "It was a lot of fun to be in it, and I know our fans still talk about it and remember it. There were some great things that we did offensively and some things we did great in sticking up for one another, being team tough."

 The Bruins will enter Tuesday's tilt with a five-point lead over the Habs for first place in the Northeast Division.

 "I think from here on in they're all big games, especially tomorrow night," said Lucic, who chipped in two goals and racked up 16 penalty minutes in the last go-round. "They're the ones behind us trying to catch us for the division lead. They're on a little bit of a winning streak here and they've been playing well.

 "It always seems like every time we come in there, they play a good, hard game against us. We're going to have to play hard, but most of all we're going to have to play smart."

 The Canadiens aren't the only ones looking to claw their way up the standings. At present, Boston sits in second place in the Eastern Conference, just two points behind the top-seeded Flyers.

 "We're trying to catch a team on top of us in the Flyers, and they (Montreal) are trying to catch us, so it's a very important game for each team," defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. "I think it'll be a hard-fought, fast-paced game again."

 While Seidenberg doesn't foresee a foray of fisticuffs breaking out in Montreal, he knows the Bruins are as well-prepared as any team in the league if the game goes in that direction.

 "I know both teams are focused on getting two points," he said. "We don't know what's going to happen, but in case it does, we have enough guys that can deal with it if need  be."

 Lucic, meanwhile, wouldn't rule out the possibility of the hate these two squads have for one another boiling over once again.

"Time will tell," Lucic said. "There's not much more you can say than that we'll see from the drop of the puck, how the emotions are going. We know that their fans are going to be into it. We'll just have to see how the game goes."

 Games like that 8-6 victory, however, almost always prove to be the ultimate team-building exercise. So if that's how things go at the Bell Centre, the Black and Gold will be an even tighter bunch as they head down the stretch and into the playoffs.

 "You look back on games like that and the Dallas game, just games where we were team tough," said Lucic. "It's a great feeling when you know a teammate has your back. I think that's what we have shown a lot this year. It creates that chemistry and brings a family feeling into the dressing room."