BOSTON – Coming into the series with the Montreal Canadiens, the Bruins knew their top players were going to have to step up, and included Boston’s No. 1 line of Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton centered by David Krejci.
|Subban and Lucic |
The Canadiens also knew their top players were going to have to step up. Montreal’s top defensive pairing of Hal Gill and P.K. Subban were featured prominently.
In Game 1, something had to give.
The Canadiens sent out Gill and Subban against Lucic, Horton and Krejci whenever possible in Game 1 on Saturday and the line was held to no points and four shots on goal in a combined 54:26 of ice time.
“Last game, you have to give them credit. I thought they did a pretty good job of getting to the net, I just thought [Montreal goaltender] Carey [Price] played really well,” Subban said.
“He found a seam to find the puck and he covered it before he could get a stick on it. They’re big-bodied guys, we have our work cut out for us again tonight.”
While Price played a role in the shutout, Montreal’s defensive system kept the Bruins out of the net-front, and allowed Price the vision he needed to stop Boston’s attempts.
“They did a good job of boxing us out and getting in our face, we have to do a job and try to outwork them there,” Lucic said.
Over the last 48 hours, the party line in the Bruins dressing room involved Boston getting players to the front of the net to create traffic in front of Price.
“I think it’s a mindset for sure. For ourselves we just have to battle,” said Lucic.
Lucic, who plays a physical role on the top line, is looking to battle his way between Subban and Gill to get premium seating in front of the line.
“Obviously I played just okay last game I felt. For myself, I’m definitely going to do whatever I can to raise my game to the next level,” Lucic said.
“We’ll see what happens.”
Subban is given the role of keeping Lucic out of Price’s line of sight.
“I think that playing well positionally, and maybe trying to decrease the amount of time he has to get to the front of the net. If you can slow him down a little bit then maybe that gives our goaltender a chance to see the puck,” Subban said.
“But as far as shutting him down, I don’t know if you can stop him. You just have to try and have good body positioning.”
Subban and Lucic battled throughout the six regular season games between the two squads and the playoff atmosphere only intensifies the emotion that fires when they match-up.
But in terms of Subban’s preparation for the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Lucic, he said there is nothing he can do.
“You can’t prepare for guys like that. He’s so big, if he’s going to get to the front of the net, it’s going to be tough to deter him from doing that.”