Monday, March 4, 2013

Is there a better rivalry than Habs vs Bruins?

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Greetings Habs Addicts!

Last night I watched another classic match-up between the Boston Bruins and our beloved Montreal Canadiens.  The game had it all: Scoring, fighting, hitting, lead changes and edge of your seat dramatics down to the very end.  Habs prevailed 4-3.  That evens the season series at one win apiece and goals are 5-5 over the two games.   With Boston coach Claude Julien crying foul after the game about Montreal players diving around and drawing penalties, I expect the intensity level will be through the roof on March 27 when they renew acquaintances.  It will be another closely contested game in what I deem is the greatest hockey rivalry.

Sure, the Toronto Maple Leafs are rivals.  Ontario vs Quebec. English Canada vs French Canada. Toronto vs Montreal. Without a shadow of a doubt its Canada’s biggest rivalry. Two original six franchises; the faces of hockey in Canada prior to the days of expansion. It was either or back then.  You were pro-Leafs or pro-Canadiens.  Post-expansion however, it has been a different story. It’s always an entertaining series, but very rarely meaningful in the standings.  Up until the 1998-99 season, the Leafs were in the Western Conference with the Habs in the east. Twice a year they matched up.  This rivalry picked up once they became division rivals. And being a born and bred Montrealer now living in Toronto (the self proclaimed hockey capital of the world), it’s my surely favorite rivalry to be a part of.  Great as it is, though. Its not Montreal vs Boston.

It seems these two clubs are always jockeying for position in the standings against one another. If its not a direct battle for conference supremacy like last nights game was, it always has some playoff implications for at least one of the teams involved.  In the last 25 years, these two teams have met in the playoffs 11 times.  Montreal was victorious in only 4 of those series.  Five times they’ve played the full seven games.  That’s just in the last 25 years.  Seven of those years we did not even make the playoffs.  So kids, if it feels like you constantly say 'Montreal always faces Boston in the playoffs!!' you're basically correct. 11 times in 18 playoff seasons we’ve faced Boston in a round. 

History lesson aside, let’s get back to the intangibles.  How many other teams do you as Habs fans loathe? I mean seriously despise?

  • Ottawa Senators? You haven’t been around long enough. Well you have. Just you weren’t very good.
  • Buffalo Sabres? Meh. You’ve always been the little brother of the division.
  • New York Rangers?  Detroit Red Wings? Chicago Blackhawks? Maybe back in the early days of the NHL.
  • Toronto Maple Leafs? Touched on them already.
  • Boston Bruins? *#*&$% the *#*$@&* Bruins!!!

Some highlights of this classic rivalry include:

Too much has happened over the years for this rivalry not to be considered hockey’s best. Sorry Chicago-Detroit, Ottawa-Toronto, New York-New Jersey, Pittsburgh-Philadelphia or Calgary-Edmonton.  You just don’t have the history behind you.  Montreal and Boston have met 33 times for 170 games in the NHL playoffs.  That’s 10 more times and 53 more games than the next closest NHL playoff rivalry (Detroit-Toronto). Eight times they’ve played a series-deciding game seven. And my favorite stat, which I saw on the telecast last night: Montreal is 7-0 vs Boston in Stanley Cup Finals.  Suck on that, Bruins fans.

What’s your favorite Habs-Bruins memory?

 Nick M. is a transplanted Montrealer, currently living in evil LeafLand. He is a weekly contributor here at and he can often be found rambling on Twitter.


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