Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Boston Bruins

Bear Essentials: Montreal vs. Boston

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins left wing Marco Sturm takes out Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Hockey fans in New England generally regard the CH of the Montreal Canadiens with equal parts of loathing and respect. And this year the Hub of Hockey has had to endure six losses to the Habs during a season. As such, nearly everyone has an explanation for the Black & Golds' issues with the le Bleu, Blanc et Rouge.

That includes Marc Savard, although you might not have guessed Marc's explanation.

Yesterday, during his regular radio spot on WZLX's Karlson and McKenzie Show, Savard said, "When we play the Montreal Canadiens, we don't like the Montreal Canadiens.

"If you ask every guy in that room [about] which team they don't like [they'd say], 'We hate the Montreal Canadiens.'

"And when we go out to play the Montreal Canadiens, we try and kill the Montreal Canadiens," he said.

So, in a nutshell, apparently the B's try too hard against their archrivals.

"We're starting to learn, after six losses, that's not the way to play them," continued Savvy. "I think if we stop putting them on the power play, we are going to have a better chance to beat the Montreal Canadiens."

In reality, Savard was echoing everyone in the locker room when he implied that the B's need to relax a bit when they take on the Habs.

Even rookie power forward Milan Lucic, who wears his heart on his sleeve as much as any Bruin of recent vintage, reiterated that the club needs to take a more even keeled approach.

"We talked and we said we don't want to think about what has happened in the last six games against them," said Lucic. "We haven't played them in a while and they haven't seen us in a while [and] I think we made strides in the right direction.

"We need to make sure we focus on playing Bruins hockey.

"It's happened to us six times where we've let our temper get the best of us…you can learn something right there [and] you take that equation out of the game," he said.

Sitting in his locker stall after Thursday's tough practice, Savard agreed.

"When we play Montreal I think we've been emotional to the point where we are not in control," he said. "And it costs us.

"We play so physical that we end up in the penalty box and they are so skilled…we end up shooting ourselves in the foot.

"I think if we control our emotions against this team, we should be fine," said Savard.

But Savard admitted, when asked if this was the biggest rivalry he had been a part of, that the competition between the two teams was the best he had been a part of while in the NHL.

"The fans really come out and support this," said the playmaker. "Whether it is Montreal fans coming here or our fans going there.

"We know how much this means to the city of Boston and we know how much it means to [the Bruins] so we just have to go out and keep our emotions in check and we'll be fine."

10:21 a.m.
Number 4
As it is Bobby Orr's birthday, I thought that I would do a little...

Number 4 By the Numbers...
2 Stanley Cups
1 Canada Cup
2 Art Ross Trophys
2 Conn Smythe Trophys
1 Lester Patrick Trophy
3 Hart Memorial Trophys
3 Prince of Wales Trophys
1 Calder Memorial Trophys
1 Lester B. Pearson Award
8 James Norris Memorial Trophys

And why not add...
270 Goals
645 Assists
915 points

Aw heck, let's not forget...
NHL Second All-Star Team (1967)
NHL First All-Star Team (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975)
NHL Plus/Minus Leader (1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975)
(1975) Canada Cup All-Star Team
(1976) Canada Cup MVP
(1979) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975)

And the scariest number of all...
He only played in 657 games!

Happy Birthday Bobby, from all of us who love the Black & Gold. JB

12:12 p.m.
What we know. The Bruins Tim Thomas was first off the ice. As was goalie Carey Price for Montreal. Zdeno Chara is a game time decision..More in a bit.

12:49 p.m.
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
Nerves or no, the B's are ready to go.

I did an impromptu poll of several of the guys after practice and asked, "Do you still get worked up or nervous before a big game? Do you change your routine?"

"There are a lot of games," said Phil Kessel. "You just stick with the normal things you do.

"Tonight's a big game and it means a lot to our team, so you have to go out there and play hard and play your game."

Mark Stuart had a similar sentiment.

"I think it just stays the same -- same routine," he said. "The excitement really kind of takes care of itself. You really don't need to do anything extra to feel that excitement.

"You know who you are playing, so you just go about your same routine. The energy, you can feel it [before the game]."

P.J. Axelsson was most demonstrative in his response.

"Naaaaaaaah," said the Olympic goal medalist of getting nervous. "There's a little adrenaline kick, but…no. You can kind of feel it when you get to the rink.

"And you might think about the game during the day.

"But I don't get that nervous about it," said the Swede.

Marc Savard had his own take.

"Yah, of course you do," he said of getting nervous (From what I can tell, Marc never changes his routine. JB).

"But, I don't think it's right now [at morning skate], but when it is time to drop that puck, the jitters start to come."

Savvy pointed to tonight's game versus the Canadiens as an example of a big game.

"This rivalry is huge -- one of the biggest in pro sports, I think," he added. "And it's gone a little too far without us winning a game.

"I think every guy in here wants to win, but we have to stay controlled."

Controlling whatever you do, or whatever emotions you have seems to be the key. Whatever happens before the game simply cannot affect your play.

"I actually think it's good to be nervous," said Milan Lucic. "At least a little bit.

"Going into big games, like I did last year and the year before (in Juniors), it helps out with not being as nervous.

"But with nervousness [or no], you know you have to have a big game and you have to make an impact if you want a big game to have the right result."

3:17 p.m.
Hey folks, I've been busy and have some podcasts for you to take in:

 BruinsCast: Coach Julien in English (03.20.08)  
 BruinsCast: Coach Julien in French (03.20.08)  
 BruinsCast: Patrice Bergeron in English (03.20.08)  
 BruinsCast: Patrice Bergeron in French (03.20.08)  

Give them a shot, as you will find them pretty informative about tonight.

5:27 p.m.
For those of you who have written in looking for info on Big Zee. Here are Coach Julien's thoughts on his possible return:
"We’ll be making that decision shortly.  He just got off the ice and we’ll probably know more by gametime.  He’s an important factor and hopefully we’ll get him back tonight.  When anybody of that stature comes back, it would certainly be a boost to our hockey club, but I still think we need 20 guys to do the job tonight and one guy is not going to be the savior.  But when you get a guy like that coming back in the lineup, it’s great for everybody."

6:05 p.m.
Fans starting to take their seats. "Go Habs Go" has already sounded several times.

6:20 p.m.
Celine Dion just came up on Garden HDX in an advert for her concert and a bunch of people in red went nuts.

6:28 p.m.
Zee is on the ice...Peter Schaefer and Matt Lashoff are not. Luch is already hitting people in warmups.

A decent guess:
Chara-Wideman (sg) Thomas
Ward-Ference (bg) Auld
Stuart-Hnidy Go Bruins!

Marc Savard just made a bunch of kids happy -- flipping a half a dozen pucks into the crowd.

6:45 p.m.
New Zamboni decorations. One has been painted orange and has a Gillette Fusion razor -- the eight foot variation -- attached to the back. Oh my!

I am going to keep it here all night. JB

Starters: Lucic, Metropolit, Kessel, Ference and Ward. And Timmy.
The Bruins are honoring Glen Murray for his 1000th game.

Patrice Bergeron was giving a standing ovation by the crowd as he presented a gift to Glen...

First Period
0:00 An obvious sellout. The place is hopping. I can't imagine it will be very easy to contain emotions on either bench.

2:18 A very fast paced couple of shifts for both squads. No advantage as of yet.

2:51 Thornton "chats" with Kostopoulos.

6:03 Reich almost put the B's up 1-0, but his shot sailed high.

6:20 Ten bell save by Tim on Kostopoulos.

7:20 With the B's unable to clear the zone, Ward decides to take matters in his own hands and skates the puck out. Latendresse gives the B's a PP by pulling Wardo down.

8:08 Best save of the night thus far for the Habs Price, who lay down in his crease to stop the B's top power play squad.

11:09 The B's are leading 8-3 in shots, but if they are doing anything right, it is that they are not letting the Habs develop any "flow."

12:13 Bruins on the PK.

14:13 Another big stop by Thomas.

16:48 The Boston crowd is very loud and very into the game. "Let's go Broooooooooins."

18:35 Metro and Saku Koivu have a "discussion."

20:00 Outstanding first period for the B's, who outshot Montreal 15-6. Thus far the the B's have played the game they wanted to play and are just looking for that break to put them on top.

Second Period
0:00 Apparently Komisarek is having troubles.

1:00 Or so. Latendresse goes down after a hard hit by Ference.

2:22 Komisarek is out with a "lower body injury" and will not return.

3:22 Kess makes a serious bid for a goal, but it is smothered by Price.

6:43 Big hit by Reich leads to a fight, and a win, for Jeremy, who waited through a barrage of punches from Kostopoulos to land several of his own en route to a takedown.

8:07 Another nice save by Price, through a screen, off a shot by Chara.

8:20 The B's got a little off-kilter and allowed Alex Kovalev to traverse the middle, dipsy do, and put a shot through Thomas. 1-0, Montreal.

10:09 B's on the PP.

13:11 Kovalev scores. 2-0, Habs.

13:48 Marc Stuart, on a broken play, just wound up and fired to make the score, 2-1. Outstanding decision to just put the puck on net. A screen created by Sturm allowed the puck to elude Price.

15:32 Tim has settled in. Just made a nice save on Kovalev.

17:41 And Price just made a dandy on Krejci.

20:00 Not exactly the period the B's wanted. But not a disaster, either.

Third Period
0:00 20 minutes to go. The B's need a quick goal...

1:07 Two big hits by Lucic in the first minute.

3:32 B's on a very important PP.

6:47 Ryder scores. 3-1, Habs. Very frustrating.

8:03 Pile up in front. Fortuitous, because the puck was between Tim's skates.

11:13 Kostitsyn (#46) scores. 4-1, Habs. Montreal has played a near flawless game.

16:55 Wideman scores after some very hard work by 11, 56, 22.

20:00 Final score, 4-2, Montreal.
View More