BROSSARD, Que. — The Montreal Canadiens are not surprised that they must play a do-or-die game against the Boston Bruins.
The Canadiens will be battling to stay alive in the NHL playoffs when they face Boston in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal Monday night at the Bell Centre.
The Bruins lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 and are one win away from reaching the conference final for a second straight year and third time in four years.
"We knew what we were getting into in this series," captain Brian Gionta said Sunday. "They’re a good team.
"We’re playing at home. For the most part of the series we’ve outplayed them and we feel comfortable."
The Bruins took the series lead with a 4-2 victory Sunday night in Boston.
The Canadiens were in the same position in a first-round series in 2011 against Boston. That year, they won Game 6 at home 2-1 and ended up losing the final game in overtime. The Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup.
"Some of our guys have done this before," said centre David Desharnais. "We’re in front of our fans and we like the way we play at home."
The game in Boston was marred by an incident late in the third period just after P.K. Subban scored Montreal’s second goal on a power play. Subban was skating past the Boston bench during the play when he had water squirted into his face from the bench by Bruins forward Shawn Thornton.
No penalty was called but the NHL fined Thornton US$2,820.52 for unsportsmanlike conduct Sunday.
Gionta feels that was ample punishment.
"I still haven’t seen what happened," he said. "But from what I’ve read or whatever I’ve heard, it seems fair enough.
"I’ve seen worse. I guess what they’re trying to do is get guys off their game."
The Canadiens held an optional practice that included five players who played in Game 5: Travis Moen, Mike Weaver, Brandon Prust, Michael Bournival and Douglas Murray.