BOSTON — With the Detroit Red Wings out of the way, the Boston Bruins can now look ahead toward the latest chapter of their bitter rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens.
“There’s a lot of hatred between the teams, the fans and the cities when it comes to the rivalry,” left winger Milan Lucic said after his goal and assist helped his team close out the Red Wings with a 4-2 Game 5 victory on Saturday.
“You saw what they’re able to do in their first series (a sweep of Tampa Bay) so we’ve got to be prepared to elevate our game.”
The Bruins will meet the Canadiens for the 33rd time — easily the most series between any two NHL teams. Montreal leads 24-8, but the Bruins have won the last two — and there has been all kinds of bad blood between the teams through the years.
In 2011, Boston defeated Montreal in overtime in Game 7 of the opening round en route to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup since 1972.
“People tend to make it a huge deal, outside our locker room, but we’ve learned over the years that the more focused we stay on our own doing and keep the focus on us, we get the better results,” said goaltender Tuukka Rask, who stopped 31 shots.
“So, for me and for everybody else, I think it’s just another series. We want to win and I’m looking forward to it. They have a great team, so it’s going to be tough. So we’ll see.”
The Canadiens went 3-1 against the Bruins this season, winning one of the games in a shootout.
There was no announcement on when the first game will be played, although the Bruins host the first two games.
On Saturday, defenseman Zdeno Chara snapped a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal with 3.8 seconds left in the second period and Lucic scored 4:27 into the third as the Bruins eliminated the Red Wings in the first playoff series between the Original Six teams since 1957.
When it was over, Chara, the Bruins’ captain, refused to look ahead, saying, “We just finished Detroit. We’re going to have so many days to talk about Montreal, so let’s all sit back and hold those questions.”
The Red Wings won the first game, 1-0, but the Bruins, yielding just five more goals, won the next four to advance.
Rask, named this week as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, was beaten on a rebound by left winger Henrik Zetterberg (first goal, to go with an assist) with 3:52 left, making things close.
But a too-many-men penalty came 48 seconds after the goal, and the Wings failed to tie it in the final minute, Lucic setting up right winger Jarome Iginla for an empty-netter, Iginla’s second goal in as many games.
Bruins fans chanted “We want the Cup” during a late stoppage.
Rookie defense Torey Krug had two assists for the Bruins, who won the President’s Trophy for the most points in the regular season.
The Bruins killed six of seven Detroit power plays and are 53-of-56 in their last 15 playoff games.
The teams were playing 4-on-3 when center Patrice Bergeron passed the puck to Chara, who blasted a slapper past goaltender Jonas Gustavsson to break the tie.
Gustavsson, who also made 30 saves, was playing his second straight game, with starter and former UMaine star Jimmy Howard still out — officially with the flu while there was speculation he suffered a concussion earlier in the series.
Chara’s second goal of the series came 5:15 after center Pavel Datsyuk tied the game with a power-play goal — matching the early power-play goal scored by Boston right winger Loui Eriksson (his first). Lucic then scored his third goal of the series from in close.
Datsyuk scored three of Detroit’s six goals in the series and also assisted on the Zetterberg goal.”
“I think the biggest difference was they were able to stick to their game plan for 60 minutes every game better than we did,” Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.
NOTES: The Bruins were still without LWs Daniel Paille (concussion) and Chris Kelly (back), with Paille closing in on a return. … The Red Wings got RW Daniel Alfredsson back after a two-game absence (back). He was vague after the game about retiring. “I’ll take some time and settle down, and start the process from there,” said Alfredsson, who had an assist in the game and said Detroit is where he will “likely” play if he returns. … G Jimmy Howard (officially, flu but speculation centered on a concussion) still couldn’t start. … RW Gustav Nyquist, a former UMaine standout whose scoring helped carry Detroit into the franchise’s 23rd straight playoffs, went without a point in the series. … Former Bruin John McKenzie was the team’s pre-game “fan captain.”