One major difference brought about with the change to the NHL ‘s playoff format is the fact that in each series, teams have a 50-50 chance of knowing who they’ll face next.
Usually, it isn’t until the conference finals that teams know that they will play one of two teams should they advance, but with the divisional, non-reseeding format the league changed to for this season, that scenario is provided throughout the playoffs.
The Bruins and Red Wings both know that, should they win, they will face the winner of the series currently being played between the Canadiens and Lightning. Well, that series could be over awfully soon, as the Habs hold a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Bolts.
The Boston-Detroit series, on the other hand, has just begun. Tied 1-1 heading into Tuesday’s Game 3, the series has at least three games to go, and with the way it has looked thus far, could go four or five more. The Montreal series could be over as soon as Tuesday night, in which case the Canadiens would both have a lot of time to wait for their next opponent and face a potential matchup against the Bruins.
“That’s their series. We’re worried about ours right now,” Claude Julien  said Monday. “Our players shouldn’t worry about that. As coaches, you worry about your team but you also are allowed to watch and prepare in a certain way by watching the other series as well, so I don’t think it’s a big issue.
“I know that there were times in the past where we were done and we had to watch a couple of different series because we didn’t know, depending on who would win, who we’d play, so there’s no doubt it’s a lot clearer now. We don’t have to look too far to find out who our next opponents could be, but at the same time, it’s about getting out of this one here, and right now it’s a 1-1 tied series that, to me, has the potential to go a long ways.”
Most people outside of Detroit probably would want to see the B’s and Habs meet in the playoffs for the first time since their classic first-round series in 2011 in which the B’s came back after dropping the first two games at home, blew a 3-2 series lead and eventually advanced on Nathan Horton ‘s overtime game-winner in Game 7.
For now, the Bruins have much, much bigger fish to fry with the Red Wings. Still, knowing that they could potentially have the Habs up next has to be some sort of distraction and one that hasn’t existed for them. Sure, they knew in 2011 while they played the Lightning that they would play the Sharks or Canucks for the Stanley Cup  if they won, and they had the same idea last season with the Blackhawks and Kings, but that was much later. Now it’s something they have to block out each round.
Despite knowing that the Habs may be next, one Quebec native hasn’t let the other series become a distraction for him during this one.
“Right now, honestly, for myself — I haven’t asked any of the guys — it’s not,” Patrice Bergeron  said Monday. “I think we’re really so focused on playing that series that you don’t really think about anything else. You obviously follow the scores and the games, but I don’t necessarily think about that.”