This is why Tomas Kaberle allowed his life to be turned upside down.

Kaberle had been a career Maple Leaf, stationed in Toronto for a dozen years, and the 33-year-old Czech was very much attached to that city. But after two years of trade rumors and his contract with the Maple Leafs coming to an end, Kaberle, who has not played in the Stanley Cup playoffs since 2004, lifted his no-trade clause to be shipped to Boston. With the Bruins, the defenseman knew he'd at least have a kick at the Cup.

Tonight that opportunity finally arrives when the B's host the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

After a half-hour practice yesterday at Ristuccia Arena, Kaberle was soaking up the atmosphere.

"It's huge," said Kaberle, who has six goals and 22 assists in 77 career playoff games. "It's a lot of excitement, a lot of friends texting and calling me and wishing me good luck. This is what everybody plays for. For some of these guys it will be their first playoff and I can see the excitement already two weeks ago. Everyone was talking about it and it's great. Hopefully, we can do something special."

This will be Kaberle's first playoff series against the Canadiens, but that doesn't mean he's never played an important game against Montreal. The B's and Habs might have the best rivalry in a sporting sense, but the Maple Leafs-Canadiens feud has a highly charged atmosphere for every game.

And judging by the numbers, Kaberle did not shrink from that stage. In 65 career games against Montreal, he has put up 15 goals, 35 assists and a plus-22 rating. His only goal as a Bruin came in the 7-0 rout of the Canadiens in the regular-season series finale between the teams.