BOSTON — Everyone is expecting the Boston-Montreal rivalry to overflow with physicality and hatred when the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between the two clubs opens tonight at TD Banknorth Garden.
Canadiens head coach/general manager Bob Gainey was asked today if he thinks the hard-hitting style that dominated the match-up between the two teams just one week ago will repeat itself and if he’d be happy to see that.
“I think I’d be happy if it turned into a long series. And whatever adjectives we insert in there is fine,” he said after his team’s morning skate. “I think it will be (physical). I think there’s too much invested by both teams. There’s players that enjoy that style of play. Hockey provides lots of latitude in physical play and body contact. I think it will be part of the series and it will be a good part of the series.”
As for any lessons Gainey think his club learned from that game, which featured the teams exceeding 70 penalty mintues combined, Gainey said that his team can learn from all six of the Habs’ games with Boston — which all ended in defeat.
“It’s our freshest look. I believe that when we played Boston a week ago, it had been since game 50. I think game 50 was our fifth game against them, and then game 81 was our sixth game against them,” he explained. “So it’s our freshest memory, but looking at the season series of six games, I think there’s lessons for us to be drawn in there, places that we need to be conscious of how they developed that advantage over us over six months.”