BOSTON — The Boston Bruins have two chances to finish off the archrival Montreal Canadiens. They are only thinking about the first one.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller said, looking to Game 6 in Montreal on Monday night. “This is the biggest game – the hardest one to win. So, we need to be ready.”
The Bruins won 4-2 in Game 5 on Saturday to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series and send the Canadiens to the brink of elimination. Game 6 is Monday at the raucous Bell Centre, with Game 7 in Boston on Wednesday night, if necessary.
“We expect that we are going to have to play our best game yet,” Bruins forward Jarome Iginla said. “We know that they are going to try to use their crowd, and we are most likely going to need our best game of the series.”
The Canadiens swept Tampa Bay in the first round and won the first game of the Eastern Conference semifinals in Boston. But since then, the Bruins have regained the form that took them to the Stanley Cup finals twice in three seasons.
The Bruins took a 1-0 victory in Game 4 on Matt Fraser’s overtime goal, then came home and sped to a 3-0 lead in Game 5. Reilly Smith and Iginla scored power-play goals 32 seconds apart early in the second to help Boston pull away.
“They capitalized on a couple opportunities right at the start of the second period, and that was a tough hole to dig out of,” Montreal goalie Carey Price said. “We’re going to stay positive. The series is not over yet. We’re going home, and we’re going to bring our absolute best.”
The Canadiens were in the same position in the first round against Boston in 2011, winning Game 6 at home before losing the seventh game in overtime. The Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup.
“Some of our guys have done this before,” center David Desharnais said. “We’re in front of our fans and we like the way we play at home.”
Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban said he thinks his team can do it.
“We have enough here. We just have to bring it facing elimination,” he said. “I still think that we are in a good spot. We are going back home. That’s the barn, it’s going to be loud. It’s going to be full of energy. We are going to be ready to play, that’s for sure.”
Subban has been at the center of much of the action so far in the series. He scored the winning goal in Game 1 and has four goals and three assists. On Saturday he was the victim of an odd controversy.
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton was caught by TV cameras in the final minute spraying water from the bench at Subban, who had the puck. Thornton was fined $2,820.52 by the league on Sunday – the most allowed by the collective bargaining agreement.
Bruins Coach Claude Julien said he did not approve of Thornton’s behavior and let him know. Thornton said he got caught up in the moment.
Subban also said he would like to move on.
“I don’t need you guys to make a big deal out of it,” he told reporters after the game. “It is one of those irritating things when you’re down 4-2. Listen, they beat us. That’s not the reason why we lost. It’s just one of those things that frustrates you even more toward the end of the game.”