BOSTON -- Just four months after the Canadiens defeated the Bruins in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the two teams will face off in an exhibition game Tuesday night at Bell Centre in Montreal.
While it's only a preseason game, the atmosphere at Bell Centre should be exciting.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the first preseason game or game No. 50; it’s the same thing,” said Bruins forward David Krejci. “It’s going to be nice to get the first real preseason game under our belt and looking forward to it,” Krejci said.
Here are the Bruins players traveling to Montreal:
At the start of training camp, Bruins coach Claude Julien said he would experiment with a more aggressive system of play in the neutral zone, so the team will use the seven preseason games to implement the system. But there’s more to the exhibition games than just Xs and Os.
“When you look at what we’re trying to tweak in our system and you want to continue to work on those things during preseason, but it’s also an evaluation of players that are trying to make the team,” Julien said. “It’s also an opportunity for our guys that have been here for years to fine-tune themselves and get ready for the season. They’re not going to play every game, so it’s important they take those games seriously and get themselves at the top of their game before the season starts.”
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask practiced with the afternoon session and will remain in Boston. Still, he understands how playing in that Bell Centre atmosphere, albeit a preseason game, will help the younger players, especially the goaltenders.
“That building is always fun to play in. It doesn’t matter if it’s a preseason, or playoff, or whatever game, it’s always sold out and the fans are really into it,” Rask said. “It’s definitely a special feeling to play there just because of the crowd. Even if it’s a preseason game, you really have to play good and try to match that intensity there because of the crowd it gives you that extra boost.”
Julien said Tuesday morning that both Subban and Svedberg will play against the Canadiens.
Subban played in this game last season and faced his older brother, Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban.
"Last year was pretty cool and I’m looking forward to it [again], obviously,” Subban said.
“It’ll be cool, for sure. I know last year [P.K.] didn’t get many shots on me.”
If everything goes according to the organization’s plan, Svedberg will serve as Rask’s backup this season, and Subban will play his second pro season with the Providence Bruins of the AHL. At some point, however, Subban is looking forward to playing against his brother in the NHL.
“Obviously, it would be cool to play against him eventually, especially on the teams and organizations we’re with, so that would be pretty cool and definitely looking forward to that in the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Matt Fraser, who experienced a career moment during the series against the Canadiens last spring when he was recalled from Providence and scored the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 4, will be playing for a roster spot.
During training camp, Fraser has been playing the left side, with Krejci in the middle and Eriksson on the right wing.
“You can kind of look at it two ways: You can take what you can from last year and move forward, or you look at it like it’s a whole new slate. For me, I am a little more comfortable because you already know the surroundings and you know what to expect from that place. When it comes down to it, that place is going to be rocking, whether it’s an exhibition, regular season or playoff game. I’m excited to get things going in the exhibition games,” he said.
Julien will have his top line of Milan Lucic, Krejci and Eriksson working together in preseason games soon, but this has been a good opportunity for Fraser to show how he can play with the best.
“Playing with Krech, you sometimes maybe try to overthink too much because he’s such a good player and you don’t want to let him down,” Fraser said. “When it comes down to it, all I want to do is raise my game so it makes us better and it shows the coaching staff and management that, ‘We need to put Fraser up there, he’s more than capable to play and he’s more than capable and confident to do it.’ I’m looking forward to getting into a game situation.”