The biggest and probably the oldest rivalry in the NHL will renew itself tonight when the Montreal Canadiens come to visit the Boston Bruins. Both teams are on the second half of a back-to-back series, though the Bruins have the advantage of being at home and of having played a matinee game yesterday, whereas the Habs might be a bit tired from their tumultuous 7-6 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins and from travel.
The Bruins are on a six-game win streak after yesterday’s win, which involved two separate Boston power play goals in the same game–which is practically a miracle considering the Bruins’ power play inefficiency, especially at home–and Brad Marchand putting up his fourth game-winning goal of the season. Last time the Bruins and Habs played on Feb. 6, Marchand was out with an upper-body injury, so the fact that he’s in this time could be a good thing for the home team. (Boston won that game 2-1.)
Carey Price was torched for all seven goals in that game last night, so he might not be in tonight. Peter Budaj could get the nod instead. But since Anton Khudobin played last night, expect to see Tuukka Rask in net tonight. His overall record against Montreal doesn’t look super at 2-6-1 with a 2.57 goals-against average and .911 save percentage, but that record includes a shutout and he allowed just one goal in his most recent outing with the Habs.
Speaking of Bruins’ records against the Habs, here are some more guys who have been strong against Montreal: Patrice Bergeron (13 goals and 20 assists in 45 games), Nathan Horton (seven goals and 14 assists in 31 games), David Krejci (four goals and 15 assists in 28 games), Rich Peverley (six goals and eight assists in 18 games) and Milan Lucic (10 goals and seven assists in 29 games).
It will be interesting to see Michael Ryder again. The former Bruin has truly gone there and back again, coming full circle back to the team that drafted him.
Coach Claude Julien needs to decide whether or not to put Shawn Thornton back in the lineup. He was a healthy scratch last night in favor of Jay Pandolfo. That decision will come closer to game time.
The winner of this game, like last time these two teams met, can take first place in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, if you were looking forward to hearing the version of events from Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley, you can’t, no matter where you live. NBC Sports Network has opted into this game nationwide, so NESN has the night off, but Edwards has already promised to use his Twitter (@RealJackEdwards) this evening. The game will start at 7:30 p.m.