As evidenced by their ability to get off to great starts in each of the first two games of their series with the Bruins, there’s no doubt the Montreal Canadiens have been the better-prepared team.
Canadiens forward Brian Gionta, who has had a large hand in the Habs grabbing a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, explained his team’s philosophy today as his club mostly rested for Monday night’s Game 3. It’s a philosophy that developed last season in the eighth-seeded Habs’ run to the Eastern Conference finals.
“It’s just being ready, mentally prepared for the start of the game. Trying to initiate, not waiting, sitting back to see what’s going to unfold. But you have to get bounces too.”
That’s a mantra the Bruins might want to emulate heading into Game 3. There really shouldn’t be any surprises considering these two teams met six times in the regular season. But so far Montreal coach Jacques Martin is winning the bench battle with Boston’s Claude Julien in a match-up I thought was even when the series opened.
The Habs have looked ready for everything the Bruins have tried at both ends of the rink. Meanwhile, the Bruins have responded as though the Canadiens just came down from the planet Ork.
The Bruins need to stop galaxy-gazing and remember they were down 2-0 in ’08 before pushing the Habs to Game 7. In fact, the Habs have lost two series since 1996 after winning the first two games on the road. One of those was against Carolina in ’06. We all know what the Hurricanes did after winning that series.