It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that right now it looks like Montreal Canadiens head coach Bob Gainey is going to insert tough guys Georges Laraque into his lineup for Game 1 of the Habs’ playoff series with the Boston Bruins Thursday night.
After the teams combined for more than 70 penalty minutes without Laraque in the contest April 9 in their last regular-season meeting, you knew it had to happen. And Laraque knows why he’s going to be in there.
“Everything in the playoffs is more disciplined,” he explained to Pat Hickey of The Gazette. “People always say there’s no fighting in the playoffs because the level of intensity is higher. You hurt a team much more with physical play. If you fight a guy, you hurt one guy. But if you play physical, you hit the entire team and during a long, physical series, it takes its toll.”
Meanwhile, Gainey and his players say they’re relishing the underdog role that comes with playing the top seed as an eighth seed.
Elsewhere around the Eastern Conference playoffs:
•New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal says he’s looking forward to facing Alexander Ovechkin.
•Can the Caps’ Jose Theodore get hot for the playoffs? We’ll find out.
•Carolina goaltender Cam Ward hasn’t been to the playoffs since he won the Cup. Now he’s looking to play even better this time around.
•The Philadelphia Flyers still have last year’s ouster at the hands of the Penguins fresh in their minds.