BOSTON (CBS) – It’s time for the fans of Montreal that fill the seats in Bell Centre to get over themselves.
And it’s time for my colleagues in the media to get over the idea that Bell Centre is some sort of medieval dungeon with torturous sound that cripples one team and boosts the powers of the other.
Bell Centre is loud. TD Garden is also loud (although a lot of that is from the speakers being turned up to 15). Guess what. Both teams play on that ice and because they’re cheering one side and booing the other shouldn’t be an excuse for failure or a reason for success.
Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk is ho-hum about Game 3 (Tuesday) and 4 (Thursday) of the Eastern Conference second round series against the Montreal Canadiens shifting north of the border with the series tied 1-1.
“We’ve been there before. And I mean we’ve played in a lot of rinks in the playoffs now. We’ve played a lot of teams,” Boychuk said. “And we know what to expect and we don’t expect anything less. It’s going to be tough. It is a tough series and it is going to continue to be a tough series, whether you’re home or away, and you expect that.”
Boychuk has reason to deemphasize the value of the roaring Bell Centre crowd. The Bruins have fared pretty well there in the regular season and playoffs. Since Claude Julien’s reign as coach began in 2007-08 the Bruins are 7-10-3 in the regular season. They’re 4-3-0 in the past three seasons, including 1-1-0 this year. In the playoffs, the Bruins are 5-4, including those huge wins in Game 3 and 4 in 2011 that evened the series and set the stage for the seven-game victory and eventually the Stanley Cup championship.
Center David Krejci acknowledged that when the puck first drops, some Bruins players might get a little overwhelmed by the jet-engine roar that is the cheers of the Canadiens’ faithful.
“You always have some new guys in the lineup and maybe they get a little nervous. And obviously they have 21,000 people cheering them on,” Krejci said.
Once a couple of those guys – like defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug – who are playing their first ever postseason game in Montreal withstand the first thrust of the Montreal maniacs, they should be able to settle down and play their games. Let’s face it, it was loud in Toronto, it was loud in New York, it was loud in Pittsburgh and it was loud in Chicago last season. The stakes were much higher once the Bruins got to that series against the Blackhawks. It gets loud in college and junior rinks.
The sound might even benefit the Bruins, and not just because many of them enjoy being a villain in enemy territory. The harder it is to communicate, the simpler you have to play. The Bruins are best when they stay away from fancy plays, play in straight lines and just hit. And a bone-rattling check into the glass is better than any words and also serves as a strong crowd silencer.
So everyone should stop acting like that Canadiens get to play with an extra man at home and just worry about the Bruins solving their special teams woes, figuring a way to stay out of the box and seeing if the Bruins can continue to solve Montreal goaltender Carey Price like they did in the third period of Game 2.
This whole crowd noise story is overrated.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.
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