The Detroit Red Wings had a 3-1-0 record against the Boston Bruins entering their first-round series. That didn't matter much once the puck dropped on the Stanley Cup playoffs, as Boston won the first round in five games.
The Montreal Canadiens, Boston's next opponent, also won three of four meetings with Boston this season. Like the Red Wings, the Canadiens are fast and will try to use that to their advantage against the Bruins in the second round.
"It's obviously another difficult [challenge]," said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. "We were mediocre against them during the year. They're a team that has given us trouble historically, so it'll be a challenge that way. Much is said about their size and their speed, and allegedly that's what gives us problems, and I think that's part of it. You have some teams you just don't have success against sometimes. Having said that, that applied to Detroit too, and you see what happened with that."
This series marks the 34th time the Bruins and Canadiens will meet in the postseason, with Montreal holding a 24-9 series advantage. This will be the fourth time since 2008 these Original Six teams have faced off in the playoffs. Boston has won seven of the last 11 meetings, including a dramatic seven-game series during the 2011 Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Of the playoff-bound teams at the conclusion of the regular season, it appeared the only team that could give the Bruins trouble in the playoffs was the Canadiens. Boston, however, has become a perennial Stanley Cup contender and has been to the finals twice in a three-year span, winning in 2011. Backstopped by Vezina Trophy finalist Tuukka Rask and featuring a leadership core of Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Shawn Thornton and Jarome Iginla, the Bruins will rely on their experience.
This should no doubt be another classic series between these rival organizations, and goaltending will be a key factor.
Bruins: Tuukka Rask
Despite a 3-10-3 career record against the Canadiens, Rask is confident he'll be able to stop Montreal in this series. This season, he was 1-2-1 with a 1.94 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage in four games against Montreal. He was even pulled once. Defensively, the Bruins had trouble handling Montreal's speed, and that left Rask vulnerable too often. In the first-round series against Detroit, Rask stopped 146 of 152 shots for a 1.16 GAA and a .961 save percentage.