The Montreal Canadiens have long been good at winning hockey games by forcing their opponents into taking dumb retaliatory penalties.
At least that's what some sportswriters in Boston appear to think.
Boston Herald columnist Stephen Harris cautions the Bruins to avoid being suckered into taking needless penalties, noting "the Canadiens have long been adept at knowing how to push the right B's buttons to get players to lose their cool and seek retaliation."
The piece cites the March 24 game in Boston as an example. That night, the Canadiens beat the Bruins 2-1 in a shootout — "a game in which Canadiens defenceman Alexei Emelin infuriated winger Milan Lucic with a low-bridge hip check, and B's defenceman Johnny Boychuk lost it against the despicably villainous P.K. Subban."
Forwards Brad Marchand and David Krejci and Boychuk are all quoted in the article as suggesting the Canadiens do force them into getting penalized. "They're good at it," Boychuk told Harris. "We seem to go for it."
A Boston Globe piece from Fluto Shinzawa appeared to take up the same theme. "The Canadiens...will make it a point of being the itch to the Bruins’ skin in the second round of the playoffs," Shinzawa wrote. He added the Red Wings, who the Bruins beat in five game in round one, weren't interested in "jacking up the Bruins' blood pressure."
Regardless of blood pressure readings, the Journal de Montréal rounded up 10 Boston sports journalists and their predictions, and all but one are predicting a Boston victory. Only NHL.com's Matt Kalman is predicting a Habs win in seven games.
But everyone agrees the series will be a long one — no one is predicting the series will go fewer than six games.
The Canadiens and Bruins play game one of their series Thursday night in Boston, in a game you can hear on TSN 690.