|Bruins d-man Dennis Seidenberg drills Habs forward Ryan White during a playoff game at TD Garden in April. (Getty)|
When you consider that the Bruins and Canadiens have combined for more than 200 penalty minutes in their last two tilts at TD Garden, expecting more of the same tonight wouldn’t be the craziest idea.
In a rivalry that’s been as intense as any in all of sports, and one that dates back nearly a century, Thursday’s showdown is one that players from both sides are looking forward to.
“When you play the Canadiens, it’s never a normal game,” Bruins d-man Dennis Seidenberg said. “It’s a great rivalry, and not just for us but the fans and the people. For us, we’ve got to keep finding our game and going in the right direction.”
The Bruins have been accused of doing a bit of sleepwalking in the early stages of the campaign, something GM Peter Chiarelli recently attributed to a likely case of the dreaded Stanley Cup hangover.
Boston will look to change that tonight, but securing a victory is of the utmost importance.
“We haven’t shown too much emotion, so I think we want to show a little bit more than the past few games,” winger Dan Paille said, noting the Bruins won’t be looking for trouble but will stand up for themselves if necessary. “But the one thing we want to do is play a better game.”
Fourth line making strides
Given that they’ve racked up just one point combined and collectively sport a minus-10 rating, it’s obvious the B’s fourth line knows they need to turn a corner here if the trio hopes to be that sort of secret weapon Boston was able to lean on last season and in the playoffs.
“It’s well-documented that we’re not good enough,” winger Shawn Thornton said of he and linemates Dan Paille and Greg Campbell. “We’re minus-whatever as a line. I think of late we’ve been better at holding onto the puck and getting better as a line, but the first four or five games we weren’t good enough. We were just throwing pucks at the net and areas we weren’t getting it back.”
Using the eye test alone, the three have had a much bigger impact over the last few games, especially Thornton as the Bruins resident slugger dropped the gloves in back-to-back games recently.
“We’ve talked about it as a line and we’ve been a little bit better, so it’s coming,” Thornton said. “Hopefully this week we can get back to playing the style of hockey that we’re accustomed to playing.”