During their first-round series, the Red Wings fell into the Bruins’ trap.
They engaged in scrums after the whistle, took foolish retaliation penalties, and were knocked off their game by the Bruins’ physical play.
Beginning Thursday night in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series against Montreal at TD Garden, the Bruins will need to make sure they don’t fall for the very same thing.
The Canadiens can be annoying to play against and they can get under your skin — if you let them.
“Against Montreal, they’ve got a really good power play for one and two, they do a really good job of drawing penalties,’’ said Brad Marchand, Boston’s resident agitator, who was back at practice Wednesday after having a day off. “Our biggest thing is we can’t get frustrated. We have to make sure that even when we do get a penalty called against us, we can’t let it bother us. We have to go out and kill it and continue to try to push our game on them. We want to try to be physical and play the way we did the last series and hopefully we’ll be able to draw a couple of penalties on them.’’
Marchand said he felt a bit like a marked man in Game 5 against the Red Wings when he was called for the first of two roughing penalties in the third period. The first came with the Bruins holding just a 2-1 lead.
The second came with Boston up, 3-1.
“[The second one] was a push and you don’t see too many penalties called even in Pee Wee like that,’’ said Marchand. “It was tough but that’s the reputation I’ve built myself and I’ve got to play through that. I think the biggest thing is to walk away from things I don’t need to be part of.’’
One thing the Bruins are aware of is how tightly officials are calling postseason games.
“In the past two years in playoffs they let a lot more go,’’ said Marchand. “It doesn’t seem to be that way this year. They call it just like regular season so you’ve got to play intense and try to play within the refs’ rules.’’
Marchand has a well-chronicled rivalry with Montreal’s resident pest — defenseman P.K. Subban. He expects that to continue this series.
“He’s one of the top D men in the league,’’ said Marchand. “He plays an all-around game, he plays very physical, and he’s really good with the puck, so we’re not going to treat him any differently from any other player. We’ve just got to play our game and whenever we do have a chance to hit him, we want to hit him, but we can’t get sucked into his game and that’s what he does, he gets guys off their game and we can’t allow ourselves to get sucked into that.’’
Marchand said Subban tries to agitate by grabbing, pushing, and shoving opponents after the whistle.
“The biggest thing is to just skate away from it,’’ said Marchand. “There are a lot of slew foots and stuff during the game. You can’t complain about that, you’ve just got to skate away and hopefully the refs will see that. He does play hard, he battles, and it’s always frustrating when you play guys like that.’’
Milan Lucic has had some battles with Habs defenseman Alexei Emelin, particularly on March 24 when Emelin hip-checked Lucic, causing Lucic to call him a chicken. Lucic also was accused of spearing Emelin in the groin, a charge Lucic vehemently denies.
“Him being a right D man and me being a left winger, just by the forces of nature we end up meeting out there on the ice,’’ said Lucic. “He’s a guy who plays physical and doesn’t shy away and he’s done that so far this year in the first four games that we played. You don’t expect that to change heading into the playoffs here. I think that’s what makes rivalries rivalries and playoffs great because you have battles within the game and games within the games and that’s one of the things a lot of people are looking at. You know he’s going to be physical and you’ve just got to be prepared for that.’’
As long as the Bruins are all on the same page with regard to the extracurricular activities, they expect not to be caught doing anything that will put them at a competitive disadvantage.
“In time, you start to learn where the line is,’’ said Marchand. “The refs do a pretty good job at filling you in along the way. I got a couple penalties [in Game 5 against Detroit] that I thought were tough calls but other than that, I think everyone is really doing a great job at playing their game and playing physical and walking away at the right times.’’
Boston’s top three lines were intact for the team’s final practice before the series opener. Daniel Paille, Jordan Caron, Gregory Campbell, and Shawn Thornton skated on the fourth line . . . Forward Chris Kelly and defensemen Adam McQuaid and Corey Potter didn’t practice. Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg skated with the team for a second day but once again refrained from contact drills.Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Elle1027.