As the snow continues to fall in New England, the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins will square off for the final time in 2016-17. The Original Six rivals have battled each other three times this season, with the Canadiens winning two of those contests.
Both of these clubs have been busy this week as this will be the third game in four days for each team. The Bruins are coming off of two straight victories at the TD Garden over the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks. The Canadiens beat the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday evening but dropped their last contest to the St. Louis Blues at the Bell Centre by a score of 4-2.
After this game, both teams will get some much-needed rest as they head into their bye week.
Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins
TD Garden-7:30 p.m. E.S.T
Broadcast Channels-NBCSN, SN, RDS, 98.5 The Sports Hub
2016-17 Season Series: Montreal Leads 2-1
Montreal Canadiens-31-18-8- 70 Points
Road Record: 13-11-4
Hot Players: Max Pacioretty, Alexander Radulov, Phillip Danault
Key Injuries: Brendan Gallagher, Charles Hudon
Max Pacioretty-Phillip Danault-Alexander Radulov
Artturi Lehkonen-Alex Galchenyuk-Paul Byron
Sven Andrighetto-Tomas Plekanec-Andrew Shaw
Daniel Carr-Michael McCarron-Torrey Mitchell
Alexei Emelin-Shea Weber
Nathan Beaulieu-Jeff Petry
Andrei Markov-Greg Pateryn
Boston Bruins-28-23-6- 62 Points
Home Record: 14-13-0
Hot Players: David Pastrnak, Frank Vatrano, Patrice Bergeron
Key Injuries: Austin Czarnik
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes
Peter Cehlarik-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
Tim Schaller-Dominic Moore-Riley Nash
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Colin Miller-Kevan Miller
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Whenever the Canadiens and Bruins meet, there is a lot of talk about the goaltenders, Tuukka Rask and Carey Price. Price and Rask are regarded as two of the top goaltenders in the NHL, but Rask seems to struggle against the Canadiens while Price thrives against the Bruins. Rask has faced the Canadiens 25 times in his career recording a 6-15-3 record with a .912 save percentage and a 2.61 GAA. Price has seen the Bruins 37 times, posting a 24-8-4 record with a .924 save percentage and a 2.33 GAA. If Price can secure another win tonight, he will tie Ken Dryden for third place on the Canadiens’ all-time wins list with 258.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Canadiens forward Paul Byron has tallied 14 goals and 29 points over 56 games this season. He has not registered a point in his last six contests and has just two goals and four points in his last 15 games, but he has had success against the Bruins this season. Byron has scored one goal in all three contests against the Bruins and will be looking to extend his streak to four games at the TD Garden.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] Bruins forward David Pastrnak has registered nine points in his last four games and netted the game-winning goal against the Canucks late in the third period on Saturday afternoon. The game winner against the Canucks was Pastrnak’s 100th career NHL point. It only took the 20-year old 147 games to hit the career milestone as his impressive season continues. Pastrnak has notched 25 goals and 47 points in 50 games this season.
With the playoff race in the Eastern Conference being extremely tight, every game is crucial. The Canadiens are sitting on top of the Atlantic Division, where they have been most of the season, but are struggling lately. Over their last ten games, the Canadiens have secured just three wins, allowing the rest of the division to close in on their lead.
The Bruins have registered just five wins over their past ten games, but have won two straight contests in impressive fashion with their new coach Bruce Cassidy. The Bruins are sitting in third-place in the Atlantic Division and are just one point ahead of the fourth-place Maple Leafs. A win against the Canadiens would pull the Bruins within six points of the Atlantic Division lead and also keep them in front of the Maple Leafs for now.
The key to winning this game lies with the goaltenders. The Bruins have been peppering goalies with shots all season, and with their offense heating up, Price will have to be on top of his game. On the other side, Rask got off to a hot start this season, but has been rather inconsistent over the last month and does not have a good history against the Canadiens. One bad goal can be the difference in this contest as it should be a tight game between the two rivals.
Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.