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Gameday Preview: Bruins-Canadiens Game 1

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Carl Soderberg's Bruins and P.K. Subban's Canadiens kick off their Round 2 series Thursday night in Boston (Photo by Joe Makarski, Bruins Daily)

For the 34th time in league history, the Bruins and Canadiens will meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but this time a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals is on the line.

The Bruins punched their ticket into the second right after finishing off the Detroit Red Wings in five games. The Canadiens had an easy time with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, sweeping their Atlantic Division rivals.

Gameday details:
Series details: Tied 0-0
Game 1 puck drop: 7:30 P.M.
Networks: NBC Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Location: TD Garden

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Bruins’ projected lines:

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
Justin Florek-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Matt Bartkowski-Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug-Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask
Chad Johnson

Canadiens’ projected lines:

Max Pacioretty-David Desharnais-Thomas Vanek
Brandon Prust-Tomas Plekanec-Brendan Gallagher
Rene Bourque-Lars Eller-Brian Gionta
Travis Moen-Danny Briere-Dale Weise

Josh Georges-P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov-Alexei Emelin
Francis Bouillon-Mike Weaver

Carey Price
Peter Budaj

Morning Skate Update:

In preparation for Game 1 tonight, both the Bruins and Canadiens took to the TD Garden ice this morning for their morning skates. Both clubs held optional skates, and both clubs had key forwards missing from the skate.

For the Bruins, winger Brad Marchand was nowhere to be found Thursday morning. After the skate, head coach Claude Julien wouldn’t give much of an update on Marchand, besides stating that Marchand "took his option."

Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty missed the mornings skate as well, but the Canadiens’ regular season leading scorer is expected to be in the lineup tonight for Game 1.

Daniel Paille (concussion) skated this morning and according to Julien, Paille is a game time decision.

Who to watch for in Game 5: David Krejci and Thomas Vanek

Based off his track record, it’s safe to say the Stanley Cup Playoffs bring out the best in David Krejci. If it wasn’t for Tim Thomas’ heroics in 2011, Krejci would have a Conn Symthe Trophy on his résumé. But so far in these 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, we have yet to see the beast that is the playoff version of David Krejci.

Krejci registered just two assists in the Bruins five playoff games last series against the Red Wings, but as the series got deeper, the Bruins’ top line got better. Expect a big game from the Bruins’ top center.

We all know the Thomas Vanek story by now. 30 goals and 32 assists in 55 career games against the Bruins. It’s safe to say that Vanek is indeed a Bruins killer. Playing on the Canadiens top line, Vanek will see a lot of Zdeno Chara. The Bruins’ Captain will have his hands full trying to shut down Vanek and the speedy Habs’ top trio.

Gameday edge: Special Teams

In the Bruins’ opening round matchup with the Detroit Red Wings, the Bruins dominated on both the power play and penalty kill, going 6 for 16 on the man advantage, and 2 for 20 on the penalty kill. Despite sweeping their first round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Canadiens were not as successful on special teams. Montreal scored just twice in 13 power play opportunities while allowing two power play goals in seven tries a series ago.

The Bruins have been known to lose their composure at times, especially against the Habs. Even with the Canadiens’ power play struggles last round, the Bruins will need to be smart, and stay out of the penalty box.

With each game expected to be a tight one, one bad penalty could be the difference between a series lead and a series deficit. The Bruins will need to remain composed, something they couldn’t do the last time these two met, back on March, 24.

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More from this blog on: Playoff Central