Bruins in Another Must-Win Situation
Boston — The Bruins crowd has been hostile to Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, booing him every time he touches the puck.
And he can’t wait to get back to Boston.
“That’s what playoffs is all about, man,” Subban said after the Canadiens won Game 6 to force the series back to Boston’s TD Garden for a decisive seventh game. “I hope their crowd is louder. ... I hope it gets nasty, I hope it gets dirty.”
The Bruins and Canadiens will play tonight in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal, with the winner moving just one step from the Stanley Cup finals. It is the ninth time the two Original Six rivals have met in a seventh game, with the Bruins taking the most recent one in 2011.
Boston played two more Game 7s that year on their way to the NHL championship. The Bruins also went to seven games in a playoff series the next year, and again the year after that.
Montreal hasn’t been back to a deciding game since its first-round loss to Boston in ’11.
“We’ve been through those many times,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “You hope that your experience is going to help you get through those.”
The Bruins led the series 3-2 before Montreal won 4-0 in Game 6 to stave off elimination at the Bell Centre. But to advance to the conference finals for just the second time since 1993, the Canadiens are going to have to win in Boston.
Subban isn’t expecting the reception to be any different than in the first three games at the TD Garden, where Montreal won Game 1. Subban had two goals in the opener — including the game-winner in the second overtime — leading to racist messages on Twitter that both the Bruins and Boston’s mayor condemned.
Subban also scored in Game 5 in Boston.
“It’s going to be great,” he told reporters after the Game 6 victory. “I can’t wait for the crowd, the noise, the energy in the building. I can’t wait to take that all away from them.”
The Bruins and Canadiens have met in the playoffs 34 times since 1929, with Montreal winning 24 of the previous 33 series. The Bruins have won seven of the past 11, and two in a row.
The teams have met eight previous times in a Game 7, with Montreal winning five.
It’s been a while since the Canadiens have had to play in a winner-take-all game, but the Bruins know that experience won’t help if they don’t play better than they did on Monday.
“That can only take you so far,” forward Daniel Paille said. “It’s OK ... but you don’t want to count on it.”