The Canadiens (17-9-3) return home to host the Bruins (18-7-2) Thursday night, their third game in four nights. The match is set to start at 7:30 and will air on RDS and TSN-Habs.
This is the first of four meetings between the Habs and Bruins this season. Last year these teams met 4 times, with the Habs earning 3 wins including a marathon 6-5 shootout victory in Boston. Andrei Markov scored with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation to cap off a 3-goal third period for the Habs and Brendan Gallagher scored the only goal in the shootout in the sixth round to seal the victory.
What to Watch:
For the second straight game David Desharnais was named First Star on Wednesday, for helping the Habs steal 2 points in New Jersey with a last-minute game-tying goal and the shootout winner. Brian Gionta picked up a goal and an assist against his former team on Wednesday, bringing him up to 5 points in his last 4 games.
The Bruins have played 27 games this season and Tuukka Rask has started (and finished) 22 of those. And with a 14-6-2 record, a 1.90 GAA and .935 save percentage, Rask has certainly made the most of those appearances. Offseason additions Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson will face the Habs for the first time as Bruins. The duo have fit in nicely for Boston, each chipping in with 5 goals so far. Iginla leads the Bruins in plus/minus with a +11 rating, tied with Dennis Seidenberg.
What’s at Stake:
The Habs have climbed to within 1 point of the Bruins for the Atlantic division lead. A regulation win would give them sole possession of top spot in the division, although the Bruins would still hold a pair of games in hand.
Rene Bourque (upper body) missed Wednesday game in New Jersey, and could miss Thursday’s game as well. Davis Drewiske is still out long term after undergoing shoulder surgery earlier in the season.
Torey Krug missed practice for the Bruins earlier in the week with an undisclosed ailment but traveled with the team to Montreal and might play. Adam McQuaid (lower body) is also day-to-day.
It should come as no surprise that the Bruins and Habs are first and second in the Atlantic division, for the past 6 seasons, dating back to 2007-2008, either the Bruins or the Canadiens have finished atop the Northeast division 5 times. The Bruins won the division 3 times in that span, Montreal won it twice including last season. The Detroit Red Wings are also near the top of the Atlantic standings, they also have 3 division titles in the last 6 seasons.
The Question Mark:
What, if anything, are the Habs missing that would make them Stanley Cup contenders?
Let us know what you think, leave us a comment below or send us a message on Twitter using the #MTLHockey Hashtag.
It’s a special night on Thursday for the Montreal Hockey Talk family. Shows start at 4:00 pm with a special presentation of Murphy’s Hockey Law followed by the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show at 6:00 and of course, the Best Damn Postgame Show comes to you live 5 minutes after the final buzzer!