MONTREAL - History tells us that winning the opening game of a playoff series doesn’t necessarily guarantee a series victory, unless of course the Canadiens are facing the Bruins in the spring.
The Habs’ win over the Bruins on Thursday night at the Bell Centre marked the 20th time the longtime rivals had opened a playoff series in Montreal. That 4-1 win brought the Canadiens’ record in opening games of a series kicked off at home to a whopping 18-2. It’s quite another story in cases where the Bruins began a series in Beantown, with the B’s coming out on top in Game 1 on 8 of 11 occasions.
Over the 20 times the Canadiens have jumped out to a 1-0 series lead against the Bruins, Montreal has gone on to win the series every time but once.
The only time the Habs won Game 1 against the Bruins but failed to win the series Guy Carbonneau was taking face-offs for the Habs while eight-month-old Carey Price
was still in diapers. In the second round of the 1988 playoffs, the Habs downed Boston 5-2 in the opening game, only to lose the next four straight. While being ousted by the Bruins that year mustn’t have been much fun for Carbonneau and then-captain Bob Gainey, the Bruins were bound to win one eventually with that playoff triumph ending a painful 42-year, 18-series postseason drought for Boston versus the Habs.
As for what should be expected for Game 2 at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens are 15-4 on home-ice after drawing first blood in an opening game against the Bruins, so you do the math. Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com