There are two things you can take away from the Bruins victory over the hated Habs on Monday night:
- Whoever scheduled the game to be on at the same time as the Pats/Ravens matchup should be fired.
- After some recent lingering doubt the Habs are thankfully still hated.
Over the past two seasons, specifically since the 2013-2014 President’s Trophy winning Bruins were upset in the 2nd round of the playoffs by the Canadiens, there hasn’t been the same feel of hatred between the two teams. And some of that is due to roster turnover. Over time the B’s lost many their then “chip on the shoulder” emotional heavyweights in Milan Lucic, Shawn Thornton, Timmy Thomas, Andrew Ference, and Johnny Boychuk. Both teams were also retooling their personnel and rebuilding their identities. It led to a fairly one-sided rivalry of late with the Habs racking up wins.
But now the identities of both teams are taking shape. Both sides are now tough, which made Monday night different than recent battles. We finally saw the nastiness return to the rivalry. We saw fire from the B’s. We saw the stuff that David Backes is routinely praised for bringing to the table with his leadership; accountability and grit. It was a welcomed return to the Bruins/Habs hatred.
Now we can only hope a fiery Monday was the game that sparks the still missing offense. Claude’s tried shuffling lines, they’ve played well defensively all along, and their goalie keeps buying them time. Monday night felt like a minor exorcism of pent up Habs demons in the Bruins brains. Their bell towers should be clear of the bats that they’ve been gripping their sticks trying to get rid of.
Pittsburgh is the perfect opponent tonight. They’re a great team, yet one the Bruins have also had some hatred for. That helps the B’s keep their A-game and emotions churning rather than say a sleepy Wednesday night in Raleigh against the Hurricanes.
I don’t have any analytics or stats to throw at this Pittsburgh game. It just reeks of opportunity. An opportunity for the B’s to ride the high of beating Carey Price and the Habs in their barn in heated fashion and parlay it into those elusive goals.
So quit playing games with my heart, Boston. Release the hounds tonight. Do it.