When you’re talking Habs vs Bruins at game 74 of an 82 game schedule – you don’t need to add hype. When you’re talking about 2 teams that are on the verge of meeting in the playoffs for the 32nd time – you simply don’t need to add fuel to the fire. This season, that fire is less camp-fire and more gas station disaster.
Thats not to say the season series has not been exciting. But from an amazing 2 goal-in-the-final-minutes come-back win, to the beat-down in Beantown, to “the horrific accident” – this season’s rivalry has been a lesson in escalation. While the NHL’s propaganda machine is ratcheting up to set the table for another intense game that already has the player’s lips flapping, it is important not to ignore what the implications of tonight’s game could mean in a playoff race.
Its funny that with 3 points separating the two teams in a fight for the division lead that the focus on tonight’s game could be so clouded. If the Canadiens win tonight, they move within a point of the Bruins. The Bruins, however, hold 2 games in hand which could prove critical should they win them. Its not unreasonable to think that this is Montreal’s final chance to grab the Northeast title.
While the focus remains on beating the Bruins, a win tonight would move the Habs into a 5th place tie with the Lightning who have struggled to win of late. The Bolts also have a game in hand – which will be made up when they play a home-and-home series with the Hurricanes on Friday and Saturday. Even though placing 5th wouldn’t give Montreal home-ice in the first round – you never know. Last year the Flyers ended up with the home ice advantage in the Conference Finals – having placed 7th.
A big game tonight. Big is an understatement. The regular season is not long for this world, and the best hockey is always playoff-style hockey.
Go Habs Go!!!!