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Bruins in the playoffs: One season down, one to go

Starting Thursday, the Bruins take center stage, looking to end their own decades-long disappointment.

The Red Sox are playing awful, and the Celtics aren’t doing that much better.

The Patriots? They might not be playing at all come September.

But all is not lost on the Boston sports scene. Starting Thursday, the Bruins take center stage, looking to end their own decades-long disappointment.

The Bruins ended the regular season with a 3-2 loss to New Jersey on Sunday, but even before they took the ice their playoff future was set: They’ll host their bitter rivals from Montreal on Thursday night at the Garden in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

It will be the 33rd time the Bruins and Canadiens have faced off in the playoffs, but perhaps no series has the emotional pitch of this one, a month after a Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty led to bad blood — and almost criminal charges.

“It’s almost like a match made in heaven,” Milan Lucic told the media Sunday. “I’ve been here four years and four times in the playoffs — and three of them have been against Montreal in the first round. The atmosphere is there, the fans are going to be into it and from a media standpoint there’s going to be a lot to talk about it.”

The third-seeded Bruins, who ended the regular season on a 7-3-1 run, own home-ice advantage by virtue of winning the Northeast. That could be key, as the Bruins have lost their last five game in Montreal, while winning the past two in Boston.

 
 
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