MONTREAL -- You can feel the city coming alive with excitement this afternoon as we're hours away from Game 3 tonight when the Canadiens host the Bruins in a playoff game for the 88th time.
Let's start with the pregame ceremony, always a special treat here but it will be extra special tonight. Montreal treasure Ginette Reno will sing the "O Canada" the Canadian national anthem prior to Game 3. Reno sang "O Canada" before Game 3 of the Montreal's first-round series against Tampa Bay, and she’ll be back for Game 3 of this series. Listen to her rendition in the video above.
On the Bruins side, Claude Julien was asked today to elaborate on his postgame comments after Game 2 when he he was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and referred "putting up with a lot of crap" regarding the officiating after the game.
“No. I think everybody who watched the game knows what was going on there," Julien said today. "It was a tough game.”
Julien also said he wouldn't have done anything differently on Saturday
“I don’t regret doing what I did,” Julien said. “I thought I stood up for my team at the time, but the biggest thing there is is you turn around and you tell your team to turn the page and go out there in the third and play the way they can. That’s part of the message that our team has to take from the last game. When we focus on the things we can control, it’s a lot more beneficial than not.”
And the minor feud with Montreal coach Michel Therrien continues on this topic as well. The Canadiens coach comment on Julien's complaint on Monday.
“[Julien] is not happy with all that 'crap,' they try to influence referees," Therrien said. “That’s the way they are. That’s not going to change. That’s the way that they like to do their things. … But we all know what they try to do... It’s something they’ve tried in the past. We all remember in the (2013) Stanley Cup final when they talked about (Blackhawks goalie) Corey Crawford and how he was giving up goals glove side.
“It’s a part of their strategy. It’s the same thing with Claude’s comments, how they had to deal with penalties — which I find they’re coming out of pretty well. They’re trying to influence the decisions of the officials. These are the Boston Bruins. It’s always been like this and it won’t change. It doesn’t seem to be affecting my players and, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t affect me.”
Naturally Julien was asked about Therrien's comments Tuesday as well.
“Everyone's entitled to their comments,” Julien said. “Again, people are trying to make more out of this on-ice rivalry, trying to make it an off-ice rivalry. Everyone's entitled to their comments. Some of it can be gamesmanship. It doesn't really matter. Right now, I'm focusing on my team and what we need to do and that's what both teams are trying to do.”
Bruins players got dragged into the tiff as well.
"It's just the press and the media trying to create arguments and create banter,” Bruins forward Reilly Smith said. “We stay away from that kind of stuff, and if that's the way the media wants to portray the series and talk between the teams, that's what they'll do. People are going to say what they're going to say. It creates headlines. We're just going to try to control what we can control.”
Back to the game, Bruins fans are hoping Tuukka Rask plays more like he did in Game 2 than Game 1 and that he's able to focus after he and his girlfriend welcomed a baby girl into the world over the weekend as well.
The lines based on the morning skate look like this:
1) Milan Lucic — David Krejci — Jarome Iginla
2) Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Reilly Smith
3) Daniel Paille — Carl Soderberg — Loui Eriksson
4) Jordan Caron — Gregory Campbell — Loui Eriksson
Dennis Seidenberg and Matt Bartkowski were also on the ice this a.m.
Montreal enters tonight’s game as the only team this postseason not to have trailed in games in any series. The Bruins are 14-1 under Claude Julien in Game 3s in the playoffs.
Keep in on boston.com for more updates before, during, and after tonight's Game 3.