The rivalry between the two cities may be relatively young but is nonetheless intense, and the geographic proximity of the two cities means a solid showing of either camp will be present at either arena.
In Brossard at the Habs’ training centre, players skated while fans talked about their predictions.
“I wanted to watch the last practice before we win the first game,” said Gilles Bissonnet from Sherrington, Que.
He thinks the Habs will go all the way; in fact, he predicted it wouldn’t go for more than five games.
“The main difference we have between this year and last year is a question of attitude,” he said.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are aflutter with shop talk and people looking forward to tonight’s game.
Many of the players on this year’s Habs roster began their careers in Montreal.
Two of them in particular — Carey Price and PK Subban — were the draw for Michael Cardinal, who is in town from Alberta for a national aboriginal tournament.
“[They’re] my favourite players in the NHL,” he said.
Rick Wall, a Habs fan from PEI, was disappointed he wasn’t able to buy playoff tickets, but remained unwavering in his support.
“I suspect the boys will put on a good show tonight.”