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Hal Gill #75 of the Montreal Canadiens and Milan Lucic #17 of the Boston Bruins battle for a loose puck along the near boards in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on April 21, 2011 in Montreal, Canada.

Phillip MacCallum/2011 Getty Images

After four hard-fought playoff games the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens are back to square one - a situation that will change Saturday evening.

If the Habs are supposed to be tense because they've let a 2-0 series advantage slip away at home, somebody forgot to tell them.

At their pre-game skate at the TD Banknorth Garden, the Canadiens were typically high-spirited, and the joking continued in the dressing room.

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When defenceman Hal Gill was asked whether goalie Carey Price's invitation to "cowboy up" - which was the catch-phrase for the 2003 Boston Red Sox - was a way for the young goalie to throw the expression back at Beantown fans, he said: "Is he that smart? I don't know."

Chuckles all around.

But for all the looseness in both the Montreal and Boston rooms (the Bruins' Milan Lucic, a Vancouver native, jokingly lamented the recent play of his childhood team, the Canucks), there is something quite considerable at stake.

The Bruins have yet to win a series in which they've trailed 0-2 in their franchise's history, but becoming the first home team to win a game in this series would put them on the verge of doing it.

"It was a tough battle to get ourselves back in the series, it's going to be even tougher to get the next win," Lucic said.

And the hulking forward, who has had a quiet series, is keen to make his mark.

"I'm not happy with the way I've been playing, I can obviously bring a lot more," he said.

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Both teams are going to want to get out to quick starts - the team scoring the first goal has won three of the four games to this point.

That's a league-wide trend to this point in the post-season: of the 35 games played, 29 have been won by the team scoring first.

And as Gill said earlier in the week, the road team has also had a sizable advantage: only 14 games have been won by the home team.

It might explain why the Canadiens can afford to feel jokey.

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About the Author
National Correspondent

Sean Gordon joined the Globe's Quebec bureau in 2008 and covers the Canadiens, Alouettes and Impact, as well as Quebec's contingent of Olympic athletes. More

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