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Stock: Habs “prefer to play the Bruins” in first round

With Montreal’s 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins [1] at the Bell Centre [2] tonight, the Eastern Conference seedings are now locked in and the Boston Bruins [3] will face the hated Habs in the first round of the Stanley Cup [4] playoffs. The rage still runs high between the two ancient rivals as evidenced by the 76 penalty minutes shared when the two teams met in a fight-filled game at the Garden last night Thursday night.

The B’s have dominated the Canadiens to the tune of a 5-0-1 record this season after being owned by Montreal last season prior to the playoffs. Game One between the Habs and Bruins is set for Thursday night at TD Banknorth Garden [5].

Interestingly enough, former Bruins scrapper P.J. Stock works as a TV analyst for CBC’s “Hockey Night in Canada” and said prior to Saturday night’s Canadiens game that an unnamed Habs player told Stock that the Canadiens preferred to play the B’s rather than face Alexander Ovechkin and the second-seeded Washington Capitals [6]. According to Stock, the Canadiens believe that they can do damage against Boston’s second and third D pairings. That doesn’t exactly scream out the sort of cliched athlete-speak you normally hear from hockey¬†teams prior to a playoff series.¬†Let the war of words — and gloved fists — begin.

“I spoke with a player from the Montreal Canadiens [7], and they’d prefer to play the Boston Bruins, believe it or not,” said Stock on HNIC. “They believe that (Boston’s) four, five and six (defensemen) don’t match up well (against Montreal).”