It's spring - and with the new season it's time to break out the bleu, blanc et rouge and the black and gold. For the 34th time, the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins meet in postseason play as the age-old rivals face off tonight in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference second round series at TD Garden.
You can listen to the game live on TSN Radio 690 in Montreal or on TSN.ca/Montreal.
While Montreal has won 24 series between both clubs, the Bruins have won seven of the last 11, including the last two.
"I knew that part of playing for the Montreal Canadiens is there were rivalries and a lot of history," said Montreal blueliner P.K. Subban this week. "At the end of the day, we'll probably talk about it for the next three or four days but once the puck drops, it doesn't matter what rivalry or history there is.
"It's just a matter of winning. Then, after the game, we'll talk abut history and whatever."
It won't be the first Bruins-Canadiens series for Montreal coach Michel Therrien. During his first stint with the Canadiens, he won a first-round series in six games over Boston in 2002 before losing in the next round to Carolina.
"I was a lot younger at the time and had more hair," said Therrien. "But (Bruins coach) Claude (Julien) has a lot of experience too.
"It's a challenge for both teams."
The Canadiens had nine days off after their 4-0 series sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning, practice with nearly the same line combinations as they had in Round 1. There's one change that could be in place for Game 1 with Travis Moen instead of Michel Bournival on the fourth line with Daniel Briere and Dale Weise.
Bruins winger Brad Marchand was not on the ice for Thursday's morning skate. In his place was Daniel Paille, who missed the first round of the playoffs after suffering a head injury.
Bruins coach Claude Julien wouldn't comment on Marchand's status other than to say that he "took his option." Thursday's morning skate was optional.
Carey Price starts in net for Montreal against Vezina Trophy nominee Tuukka Rask.
The regular season wasn't much of a struggle for Rask's Bruins and neither was their first-round matchup against the Detroit Red Wings with a 4-1 series win.
And a showdown with the Habs has had special meaning for Boston head coach Claude Julien, who was hired by the Bruins after being let go by the Canadiens (save for a shorter stint with the New Jersey Devils). Tonight will mark the fourth time the two teams have squared off in the playoffs since Julien took over behind the bench.
"I hated Boston when I was in Montreal, and now I hate Montreal because I'm in Boston," Juilen said after practice on Tuesday.
"It's a good rivalry. I think it always has been a good rivalry. It's a lot of fun and I think the players get up for these games. As a coach, you don't have to do much of a pep talk when it comes to playing each other. It's more about controlled emotions. The rivalry is what it is, but that your game still remains a game that's under control. I think that's going to be the big challenge for everyone in this series."