The Canadiens-Bruins series hasn’t started yet, but the cheap shots are flying already.
In a Boston Herald column, Stephen Harris described the Canadiens’ P.K. Subban as “despicably villainous” and teammate Alexei Emelin as “a dangerous foe” and “a guy who may be trying deliberately to hurt people.”
The Canadiens practised Wednesday morning in Brossard before flying to Boston for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series Thursday night (7:30 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690). Alex Galchenyuk, who suffered a lower-body injury (knee) in Chicago on April 9, skated briefly Wednesday morning for the first time since being injured.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien told reporters after practice that any lineup changes for Game 1 will be announced on Thursday in Boston.
The NHL only announced late Tuesday night that Game 1 of the series would be played Thursday. After Wednesday’s practice, the Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty was asked if it was difficult learning so late about the date for Game 1.
“We found out last night,” Pacioretty said, “and for myself, personally, I like it a little bit better that way. Now it’s a little bit less time to think and just jumping right back into the action. I’ve said it a bunch of times, I think that’s when I play my best hockey is when I’m not thinking and this can help that.”
As for the Canadiens-Bruins rivalry, Pacioretty said it’s “always fun” playing against Boston.
“It’s definitely a physical game, but we know the way we want to play to make it successful,” Pacioretty said. “They play a completely different sytle of game than us and we can’t get caught up in that. We’ve got to stick to the game that made us successful in the first round. And if we do that, I think we’re staying away from the stuff after the whistles.”
The Canadiens had a 3-1 record against the Bruins this season and are 6-2 over the past two seasons with Michel Therrien as coach. Pacioretty said discipline has been the key to the Habs’ success against Boston.
“They’re a big team, they like to play real physical,” Pacioretty said. “Obviously, we want to play physical, but when we just worry about our game and don’t let the stuff after the whistle affect us. When we walk away from that and stay disciplined, I think we’ve had good opportunities to win games against them. And obviously they’re going to be smart, too, in the playoffs. Obviously, they’re not going to be taking as many penalties as if it was just a regular game. But we’ve just got to focus on our game and not worry about them.”
Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at practice:
Below is raw video by The Gazette’s John Mahoney from Habs practice Wednesday: