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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens square off for the first time this season Thursday night at the TD Garden.
After a heated seven-game playoff series and all the drama surrounding the rivalry in the regular season, it’s assumed these two sides would have this date circled on their calendars as soon as the schedule came out.
Not so said Bruins coach Claude Julien, who said the two struggling teams are just trying to right the ship.
“I think it wouldn’t matter, honestly, who was here right now. There obviously has to be a sense of urgency from our hockey club to turn things around,” Julien said with his Bruins sitting at 3-5 on the season.
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“Does Montreal bring probably extra motivation? There’s been a rivalry there for years,” said Julien. “So let’s not be hypocritical about it and say well, it’s the same for them, trying to do the same thing so we got two teams here trying to find their winning ways.”
The Canadiens had lost six straight until a 5-1 win over the Flyers Wednesday night. They now sit 2-5-2 on the young season.
In Wednesday night’s win, forward Max Pacioretty scored two goals and had an assist, giving him four goals on the season. Thursday night will be his first game against the Bruins since Zdeno Chara checked him into a Bell Centre stanchion, leaving the Canadien with a concussion and fractured vertebrae.
“I can’t wait,” Pacioretty said of the Bruins game after Wednesday night’s win. “It’s going to be exciting, emotional. I have to make sure I stay even keel and can’t let my emotions get to high or low.”
“Its’ going to feel different,” the Montreal winger continued. “I’m expecting the boo birds to come out. There’s a lot of motivation going into the game, not just for me but the whole team. There are a lot of guys left over from the last couple years that have experienced the rivalry between us and Boston. We’re fired up and ready to go.”
One reporter asked why Pacioretty would hear the boos when he was that was checked by Chara.
“That’s Boston fans for you,” he replied.
As for the Bruins, they are just happy Pacioretty is back on the ice.
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“I can tell you that honestly, the one thing we’re happy about- and that would be for anyone else- is that he’s healthy,” said Julien. “As a player in the league you don’t want to see somebody end his career on an unfortunate accident but what you want to see is a player come back and be healthy. And as far as that’s concerned, he’s healthy, we’ve turned the page and now it’s time to move on.”
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