In Tim Thomas, left, the Bruins have their own great goaltender, and are a deeper team than Montreal. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)
As you can expect, there were two very different attitudes in two very different dressing rooms at the Bell Centre Tuesday night.
After Montreal completed its 2-1 finger-chewer over Boston to force Game 7 Wednesday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 6:30 p.m. ET), the Canadiens looked relieved and relaxed, ready for the next challenge.
The Bruins, on the other hand, looked intense and angry, player after player refusing to comment on Milan Lucic's ejection. I can understand why. As one tricolore said, "[Tuesday night], the pressure was on us. [Tonight], it's on them."
Yes, it is. At home, with the knowledge that after last season's disappointment, another cannot occur.
Claude Julien and Alain Vigneault are tight, going back to the two seasons they combined for almost 700 penalty minutes as minor-league defencemen in the St. Louis system. Julien understood what the Canucks were facing, and, even though his team was flying home as Vancouver played its heart out, he's no doubt aware of what happened.
In a lot of ways, Boston's challenge mirrors Vancouver's. When it comes to the Canadiens and the playoffs, Bruins fans don't expect good things. Sure, this black-and-gold team became the first ever to win four consecutive playoff games in Montreal. But, when the puck drops tonight, the hometown faithful won't be thinking about that.
They'll be thinking about Jean Beliveau (who was 7-0 in playoff series against Boston) and Ken Dryden and Jacques Lemaire and Guy Lafleur and maybe even the Carey Price who shut out the Bruins 5-0 in a Game 7 three years ago. But Julien can't think that way. And, he's got to make sure his players don't either.
The Bruins have their own great goaltender and a deeper team than Montreal. Julien can show them how Montreal's best forwards looked exhausted in the third period after Jacques Martin needed to ride them hard in the first two. (Although, Hal Gill only playing 21 minutes was a real blessing for the Canadiens.)
But the best thing he can do is show them what the Canucks did. How Vancouver, in front of a nervous crowd, came out strong, took control of the game and refused to fold when challenged in the third period and overtime. How Roberto Luongo, in particular, showed incredible fortitude in overcoming his own personal adversity.
The Canucks showed them how. Can Boston follow the blueprint?
Do you have improvements to suggest for this page?