BROSSARD, Que. (AP)—They’re hardly your father’s Big Bad Bruins, and Boston is using its newfound playoff discipline to the Montreal Canadiens’ chagrin.
Montreal’s players gathered at the team’s suburban practice facility for off-ice training Sunday after losing 5-1 in Boston the night before.
“I’d say that today our most important place to get some direction or movement towards (Monday)’s game is between the ears,” Canadiens GM and coach Bob Gainey said.
The Bruins scored three power-play goals Saturday night before the Canadiens enjoyed their first and only man advantage late in the second game.
“They’ve been playing smart, staying out of the box,” Montreal right wing Tom Kostopoulos said. “We can learn from that.”
Boston, which also stayed off the ice Sunday, has only been short-handed three times overall while building a 2-0 lead in the first-round series.
“I think you’ve always got to expect the best from your opponent,” Kostopoulos said. “I’m not sure if we expected them to be so disciplined.”
The Canadiens have yet to hold a lead through the first two games of the series. Boston has converted four of nine power-play opportunities, going 3-for-5 in Game 2.
“It’s a big part of the playoffs that you have to control your emotions and you have to make sure that you don’t do anything that costs you in the games,” captain Zdeno Chara said before the team was scheduled to travel to Montreal.
The Bruins have successfully killed each of Montreal’s three power-play opportunities through the first two games, including both in Thursday’s 4-2 win in the series opener.
“We have enough guys that are making that connection with the young players and players who are not as experienced at this time of the year,” Chara said. “It’s OK to get excited, it’s OK to be playing with a lot of energy, but at the same time we have to relax, have fun and control the emotions and just play smart.”
Boston also failed to yield a goal after Milan Lucic was assessed a match penalty for a blow to the head of Montreal’s Maxim Lapierre that left the Bruins short-handed for the final 4:32 Saturday. On Sunday, the NHL suspended Lucic for Game 3.
“I think we’re fortunate that Maxim doesn’t have an injury,” Gainey said. “He’s able to play, he doesn’t have anything serious, and—as I said (Saturday) night—that’s in the league’s hands and that’s who deals with it.”
And Colin Campbell, the NHL’s senior executive vice president of hockey operations, dealt with it Sunday.
“While it is unclear whether Lucic’s glove or stick makes contact with Lapierre, what is clear is that he delivered a reckless and forceful blow to the head of his opponent,” Campbell said.
Bruins defenseman Steve Montador acknowledged that losing Lucic for any period of time would be a blow.
“Well, he brings a lot to our team,” Montador said. “He’s a powerful player. He works hard in the offensive zone, gets on the defense and he’s a good guy in the locker room, so it will be a tough loss but we’ve had guys coming in and out of the lineup a lot since I’ve been here and even all year. And that’s what it takes to win in the playoffs.”
Boston has already lost defenseman Matt Hunwick, who is out indefinitely after having emergency surgery Saturday to remove his spleen.
Most of Hunwick’s teammates visited him in the hospital and Julien spoke to him by phone.
“I know he’s got to spend a couple days in the hospital, but he was feeling better and I said there’s things in life that are more important than a hockey game,” Julien said. “He’s taking care of himself and we’re going to do our best to make this playoff (run) as long as we can so that we give him a chance to come back and participate with us again.”
For their part, the Canadiens sorely miss defenseman Andrei Markov, who has been out with a lower body injury and missed the first two games after he was sidelined for the last four games of the regular season. Markov skated Sunday with center Robert Lang, who is recovering from a severed Achilles tendon.
Gainey said he didn’t expect either would practice with the team Monday, and that defenseman Francis Bouillon would not take part, either.
He was also undecided on which goalie would start Monday.
“As a player, it’s out of our hands,” Gorges said. “He’s made moves, he’s had guys in the first game and the second game, some lineup changes, guys come in and other guys go out, and we knew that coming in that sometimes you’re going to have take a backseat and you’re going to have to step aside and let somebody else come in, and other guys have to step up.”
Center Tomas Plekanec, defenseman Patrice Brisebois and right wing Matt D’Agostini were all taken out of the lineup Saturday, replaced by Bouillon—who left after four first-period shifts in an unsuccessful return from injury, right wing Sergei Kostitsyn and rookie defenseman Yannick Weber.
“The good news is that we can play much better that we did the first two games,” Hamrlik said.