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BOSTON (CBS) -The Boston Bruins are set to open their playoff series with the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night at the TD Garden, and former Bruin Aaron Ward has some advice for the B’s.
“They should have a big sign over the doorway as they walk out ‘Don’t Be Stupid,’” Ward told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich Thursday morning. “You can’t get caught up in the emotion of the game.”
Ward, who spent two and a half seasons with the Bruins, said the Canadiens will be the biggest challenge for the Bruins in their hunt for a Stanley Cup championship. The two have a very different style of play, with Montreal relying heavily on their speed and Boston on their physicality.
“Montreal is that fast and they don’t want to get into a physical confrontation,” Ward said, also downplaying many who think the Canadiens are a team of “Divers”. “Unfortunately for Boston they’ve won two of the six games they played all year, so Montreal may feel pretty confident that they have a chance and an opportunity.”
Ward hopes that Bruins star Milan Lucic will be able to keep his emotions in check, and not get drawn into dumb penalties at the hands of the Candiens.
“It’s big for him to maintain that fine line of discipline,” Ward said of Lucic. “Everyone knows how physically dominating he is. You just can’t cross that line, it’s the playoff and you have to be smart. You’ve got to go out there and just know, be confident in the fact that no one can physically challenge you out there. Just play physical but play smart. I think that goes for (Brad) Marchand also.”
“Claude (Julian) isn’t going to give him a long leash,” Ward said of the Bruins rookie. “You’re not going to get the opportunity in the playoffs to go out there and make some mistakes and recover from them. If he starts taking undisciplined penalties, I’m pretty sure Claude will have him sitting at the end of the bench and will get guys out there that been in the circumstance before and can take that team first mentality.”
The Bruins and Candiens have plenty of bulletin board material from the season. There was the Bruins 8-6 win at the Garden in which 182 penalty minutes were handed out between the two teams. The biggest controversy came when Bruins captain Zdeno Chara checked Candiens Max Pacioretty into the partition in Montreal on March 8th, leaving the forward with a severe concussion and fractured vertebrae.
Ward hopes the circus that surrounded the Chara hit will not be an issue when the puck drops Thursday night.
“I think it’s hopefully put in the rearview mirror,” he said. “I’m sure the media in every regard, both in Montreal and everywhere else, love to continue it because it garners a lot of attention. But when it comes down to it, playing the game, both teams it will be a race to see who can play their game.”
Tune in to 98.5 The Sports Hub’s coverage of the Bruins-Canadiens playoff series starting 30 minutes before the puck drops with the Dunkin Donuts Bruins Pregame show.