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April 28, 2014

Canadiens say they're ready for tough battle versus Bruins

BROSSARD, Quebec — The Montreal Canadiens are ready to add another chapter to one of hockey's greatest rivalries.

After eliminating the Tampa Bay Lightning in four games, Montreal is preparing to face Boston in the second round of the playoffs. It will be the 34th time the clubs have met in the postseason, more than any other two teams in North American pro sports, in a rivalry that dates back to 1929.

"There's been a rivalry between these two teams way before I was ever here and before I ever even knew about hockey," Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges said Sunday. "When you look back at previous years, and you look at the history of the organizations, those are two great organizations that have a lot of pride."

Montreal holds a 24-9 edge in postseason series with Boston.

This series could start as early as Thursday; teams will find out once the other first-round series are complete.

Boston gets home-ice advantage because the Bruins finished ahead of Montreal with the best record (54-19-9) in the league.

"When you play this team, you know you're in for a tough night," said Gorges. "Nothing comes easy against Boston."

This will be his fourth time facing the Bruins in the playoffs.

"You have to fight for everything," Gorges said. "They're very well structured. They don't give you much. You have to fight for your real estate, to get on the inside, to get second chances in front of the net. They have some big bodies and a lot of talented players on that team who can create things out of nothing."

Thomas Vanek, acquired by the Canadiens from the Islanders at the trade deadline in March, is new to the rivalry. However, he knows what to expect from a team that eliminated his former club, the Sabres, from the playoffs in 2010.

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