I predicted earlier that this series was going to go seven games because Boston looked like the favorite. Someone forgot to tell that to the Montreal Canadiens. Boston, down a game, was hoping to take their tough, hardhitting ways and attack the net for game 2. However, without defensemen Zdeno Chara, who was out of the lineup with dehydration, Boston looked ordinary.

Game 2 found me at Cafe Romolo in the heart of the Mile End (fewer red sweaters, but as loud as downtown) downing 2 for 1 beer and nachos in time to cheer loud about the Chara scratch. “So this is how we knock down a giant defenseman. Note to self: hide the Gatorade”.

Montreal repeated the same play from last game, only this time Mike Cammalleri scored on the second shot. Minutes later it was Mathieu Darche. Both these guys have twitter accounts and I joked that the rest of the Habs who tweet should score.

Tim Thomas looked shaky after those goals, but Boston did manage to score without Chara and top scorer Marc Savard (out with a concussion). Boston lacks creativity without these guys and seems generic.

Cafe Romolo was packed to capacity as I was knee deep in beer bottles and homemade eats. It’s a great time to go out and cheer for the team, however I have a friend who’s abroad and missing out on the experience. A quick tip for anyone who can’t make it to the bar: CBC live streams the playoff games. Have a beer in front of your laptop, whatever country you’re in.

Our defense did an amazing job helping Carey Price play a brilliant game. Brent Sopel and his defensive crew have been taking shots in aide of Price. PK Subban may not have been scoring, but was playing great defense and taking hits for the team. Boston hates Subban with a passion, but PK plays with passion.

As much as Boston outscores, outhits, wins in faceoffs, etc., Montreal keeps shutting them down. Even the fourth line with Lars Eller had scoring opportunities. Eller, along with a lot of the young guys, are tasting their first playoff run. As for first playoff beard, not so much. I’d be impress if it takes two rounds to grow something moustache-related.

I predict a heap of emotion at the Bell Centre for game 3 as this will be the first meeting in Montreal since the Pacioretty hit. My gut says that for game 3 Montreal should keep their emotions in check and keep playing the same as the previous two games. Boston will try to come back hitting and playing harder, but realize they’re vulnerable. They have never come back from 2-0 the last 26 times.

Defense will continue blocking shots, Price will remain “chill” and hopefully Plekanec will score in his backyard (he’s been close). Continue playing Yannick Weber (in place of an injured Kostitsyn) as he has scoring opportunities and takes shots.

On the way home from the victory, it became official that Montreal is in hockey hype mode. One of the downtown buildings changed their lights to bleu, blanc et rouge in celebration. Let’s see what the hometown momentum will do for the Canadiens now that they’re up 2-0.

Shout out for game 2: Send your twitter cheers to the Hab players Mike Cammalleri, Mathieu Darche, Brent Sopel and Max Pacioretty. All have twitter accounts. Follow them during the series or send them a shout out!

The wait is over, all day long there were hints of red poking out of spring jackets and the same sentence repeated: “Where are you going to watch the game tonight?” The city of Montreal was ready for game one. The question was: were the Canadiens ready as well?

Game one was the game to answer some questions. Can the Canadiens bounce back from the 7-0 blowout the last time they played the Bruins? Can their speed outdo Boston’s strength? A big question for myself was where was I going to watch the game?

It was an all star affair, Former Hab tough guy Chris Nilan was making a cameo at McLean’s Pub. NDP leader Jack Layton took time from his election campaign to grab a couple beers at La Cage aux Sports at the Bell Centre. The best advice to the leaders in this Federal Election: your approval rating will go up when you appear at bars watching the playoffs.

I ended up at Ye Olde Orchard downtown. An hour before the game the bar was already packed and in a sea of Bleu, Blanc et Rouge. My bartender who looks like James Wisniewski and his crew were knee deep in pub food and sheer Habs hype. They played a pre-game playlist to calm the fans, then hyped them with the sounds of Queen and Van Halen. Even Arcade Fire is now part of the sports anthem.

We were all nervous. Could the Canadiens win one game in Boston? The microscope was on the goaltending duel. Tim Thomas redeemed himself this season with the best goals-against-average. While he hasn’t had much playoff luck he, is the lucky one compared to Price who hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008 and has to live up to the heroics of Jaroslav Halak.

The bar was tense, it must have been extreme in Boston. Who was going to score the first goal to break the ice? Captain Brian Gionta did so on Montreal’s first shot early in the 1st period. Now we can relax and drink up.

Good news, Scott Gomez remembered to show up as he assisted. It was a fast paced game with Boston taking shot after shot on Price who was in the zone making save after save. Ryan White did an excellent job taking Andrei Kostitsyn’s slot when he took a hit off Zdeno Chara. Habs fans watched Chara like a hawk, seeing what dirty move he’d do this time (we all know what he did to Pacioretty). He was waling on Tomas Plekenec. So when does hitting someone in the head count as a clean shot?

The Habs continued playing great on special teams and even shutting down Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand, defenseman Brent Sopel eased pressure off of Price by taking a few shots of his own. Next to me, everyone was taking shots of Jagermeister as a one goal lead can still be scary. It helped that the Wisniewski bartender was a better color commentator than Bob Cole from the CBC. Gomez to Gionta again and the stressed is relieved. Habs win!

This puts a rest to the ones who thought Boston would sweep. The shutout was the icing on the cake for Price who exorcised some playoff demons and gave fans more confidence in him. “Jaro who?”

Game 2 will have Boston playing a lot tougher, more shots onto Price. What the Habs got to do now is create more scoring opportunities and hope that regular scorers like Plekanec, Cammelleri, even PK Subban can take a shot on Thomas. It’ll be tense, however it just got a little less stressful. This does answer some questions.

Shout out of game one: Hab Mathieu Darche and other NHLers taking part in the NHLPA beard-a-thon where their playoff beards are being used to draw pledges for money for the Heart and Stroke foundation. Even fans can raise money by growing some great beards, I love beards. for more info check out www.beardathon.ca.

After 82 games of practice, the real season starts. Welcome to the good old fashioned heart attack, blood and guts type of hockey. All teams have a clean slate, doesn’t matter if your team was the best all season or squeaked into the last playoff spot, it’s who can beat who for the Stanley Cup.

The Montreal Canadiens play the Boston Bruins in the most anticipated match up. So what should you fans anticipate in this year’s playoffs and where should you go for the games? Here’s a guide for all your playoff needs:

1)All bars will be showing the games. Anywhere in Montreal that has a TV will be showing hockey so no scheduling anything on game night. Hockey is so important that they moved the French federal election debates for it.

2) Make sure to show up one hour to 90 minutes early for a spot. If you have a friend who can hold seats for a couple hours, you better buy that friend beer. Also, it falls into the happy hour time slot, so cheap beer.

3) Scott Gomez better produce for Montreal or this is how one wastes 8 million.

4) If the Vancouver Canucks can beat the Chicago Blackhawks, then we can talk Stanley Cup favorites. PS, I still don’t understand Vancouver Canucks hockey.

5) If you want to check out a bar that’s downtown and close to the action check out Irish Embassy, Mckibbins, Cage Aux Sports, Ye Olde Orchard Downtown and McLeans. All food is decent. All links are to reviews I did all season.

6)I’m a sucker for beards so the more rugged, the better. There will be no Sidney Crosby stache this year unless he’s back from his concussion. Why don’t you get a marker and shade it in or opt for Patrick Kane’s Mullet.

7) Washington will continue being the San Jose of the East while San Jose could pull a Chicago or even a Detroit.

8 ) Montreal’s strength against Boston is in special teams, so make sure Boston takes stupid penalties. Hurting Chara will be tricky, however it would be cool to see a 6 foot 8 man brought down by a tiny Hab.

9) Boston’s strength against Montreal is defense, they’re all healthy. Hope that Sopel and Wisniewski can fill in for Markov and Gorges.

10) If you want to check out a bar with a great hockey crowd go to Taverne Chez Normand, Nacho Libre, Chez Baptiste, Bar Laurier and Cafe Romolo. Only in one out of the four do hipsters outnumber fans.

11) Don’t put more pressure on Price by reminding him about what Halak did last season. Price has proven himself, if he can’t go further than Halak, don’t chase him out of town.

12) If the Habs fail in their bid, then I blame crazy fans with the expectation that every Spring we can party on the street and riot. When was the last time any NHL team defended their title? The Cup is up for grabs, no real favourites.

13) If you’re looking for a bar with cheap beer then check out Bar Bifteck, PJ’s Pub (who says no to a 4 litre pitcher) and Romolo’s two beer/plate of Nachos deal.

14) This is the playoff year for goalies, all with hot hands and something to prove.

15) I’m watching you carefully Andrei Kostitsyn, your brother Sergei is no longer your excuse for failure.

16) If you’re looking for a bar where you’re least likely to find bandwagon fans and you get to watch playoffs in peace check out Bar Laurier, Le Courtier, Next Door, Chez Baptiste or Le Cherrier.

17) Prediction time: Habs will take the series to 7 games, it’s a toss up on who will win. It depends on which Montreal Canadiens team shows up. It better not be the one from the 7-0 game. Max Pacioretty won’t approve of this. Nor will half of Montreal. Boston is playoff-ready.

18) Stanley Cup final prediction: Vancouver might actually be ready to win one, the surprise could be in the East ( my gut says a team that finished lower than 5th).

19) Let’s pretend that Montreal has a good chance, PK will repeat what he did all year, more triple low fives for all. If the Habs want a reason to win other than for Pacioretty, it’s Kirk Muller’s last year on the Habs bench. Shout out to the BBQ with Kirk Muller group.

20) Lastly, if the Habs play for 6 weeks or 6 games, one thing always remains the same: there will be beer.

Game on!

If you want more bar suggestions check where I went all season on the Hockey Blog.

* Video by Liam Chapman