Not only are the Montreal Canadiens riding a two-game winning streak, during which they’ve outscored the opposition 15-3. They’ll also be looking for their third straight win (third this season too) over the Boston Bruins when the Habs face their long-time rivals on Monday night.
In sharp contrast, the Bruins have lost three in a row (including one against the Colorado Avalanche by a score of 4-2). They are just two points up on the Tampa Bay Lightning for the final Atlantic Division playoff spot, with the Metropolitan dominating the wild-card picture.
The Bruins need this game more than Montreal, in other words. Habs fans can only hope Montreal shows the same killer instinct they did against those same Avs on Saturday. Max Pacioretty alone would have tied Colorado’s output against the Bruins all by himself.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins
Bell Centre – 7:30 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – NHLN-US, RDS, NESN
2016-17 Season Series: First Matchup of the Season
October 22 – Canadiens 4 – Bruins 2
November 8 – Canadiens 3 – Bruins 2
Boston Bruins – 15-12-2 – 32 Points
Road Record: 8-5-2
Hot Players: Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak
Key Injuries: John-Michael Liles, Matt Beleskey, Frank Vatrano
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Backes
Tim Schaller – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen – Ryan Spooner – Austin Czarnik
Dominic Moore – Riley Nash – Noel Acciari
Brandon Carlo – Zdeno Chara
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid
Colin Miller – Kevan Miller
Montreal Canadiens – 19-6-3 – 41 Points
Home Record: 14-1-1
Hot Players: Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, Paul Byron, Zach Redmond
Key Injuries: Alex Galchenyuk, David Desharnais, Greg Pateryn
Max Pacioretty – Tomas Plekanec – Alexander Radulov
Paul Byron – Torrey Mitchell – Brendan Gallagher
Artturi Lehkonen – Philip Danault – Andrew Shaw
Daniel Carr – Brian Flynn – Sven Andrighetto
Alexei Emelin – Shea Weber
Andrei Markov – Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu – Zach Redmond
1) While the Canadiens are looking for a third straight win, they have points in their last four, having played in an overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues and a shootout victory over the Los Angeles Kings before they returned to the friendly confines of the Bell Centre.
2) This is the third of four straight games at home for the Habs, where they have a league-leading 29 points (14-1-1).
3) Should Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask get the start as projected, the Habs are in good shape. He is 5-15-3 against them in his career.
4) If the game comes down to special teams, the Canadiens should have an edge with a top-ten power-play unit (21.6 percent). The Bruins are clicking at just 13.9 percent, placing them among the league’s worst. Their penalty kill is the third-best in the league, though (87.2 percent). Montreal’s is average at 81.7 percent.
5) Patrice Bergeron is the lone Quebec native on the Bruins, but has struggled so far this season. Usually good for around 60 points a season, he has been limited to just eight so far.
With the Habs nine points up on Boston (seven up on the second-place Ottawa Senators), this is a chance to dash any hopes the Bruins have of winning the division before even the start of 2017. The final game between the two teams is set for Sunday, February 12.