NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, March 12th
(All times Eastern)
Boston Bruins (42-17-5) at Montreal Canadiens (35-24-7), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The red-hot Boston Bruins take aim at a sixth straight
victory when they visit the rival Montreal Canadiens for Wednesday's Atlantic
Division clash at the Bell Centre.
The first-place Bruins set their season-high for consecutive wins on Sunday,
beating the Florida Panthers 5-2 on the road for their fifth victory in a row.
Boston hasn't claimed six straight contests since Feb. 17-March 2 of last
The Bruins' recent hot streak has helped push the club's lead atop the
Atlantic to 11 points over Toronto. The Canadiens, meanwhile, are one point
behind the Maple Leafs for third place, with the top three teams in each
division earning an automatic bid to the postseason.
Although the Bruins enter Wednesday's clash on a hot streak and Montreal has
lost two straight and three of its last four games, the Canadiens have had the
upper hand in recent meetings with Boston. The Habs are 2-0 against the Bruins
so far in 2013-14 and have won have five straight overall in the series.
The Canadiens are also 7-2-1 over the last 10 regular-season meetings against
Boston at the Bell Centre.
Boston picked up its most recent victory against the Panthers over the
weekend. The clubs were tied at 1-1 after 40 minutes before the Bruins used a
dominant third period to record the 5-2 decision.
Carl Soderberg and Patrice Bergeron each posted a goal and an assist in the
win. Chris Kelly, Torey Krug and Jarome Iginla also scored for the Bruins,
while Chad Johnson gave up two goals on 22 shots in the win.
The victory briefly pushed the Bruins ahead of Pittsburgh for the top spot in
the Eastern Conference, but the Penguins have won twice since then and are
currently three points in front of Boston.
"We talked about it before the game that Pittsburgh wasn't playing tonight and
we were only one point behind them, so it was a big game for us and I think we
played a solid road game to come out with the two points," said Bergeron.
The win came in the middle test of a three-game road trip that is set to end
tonight in Montreal. The Bruins have won three straight on the road and are
17-10-3 away from Beantown this season.
Montreal is glad to be home on Wednesday after going 1-3-0 on a recent tour of
Pacific Division cities. The rough trek dropped the Habs to 17-14-2 as the
visiting team this season. The Canadiens are 18-10-5 as the host in 2013-14
and are playing two straight and four of their next five games at the Bell
The Habs were outscored by a combined margin of 9-2 in dropping the last two
games of their trip, losing 5-2 in Phoenix on Thursday before getting dealt a
4-0 setback Saturday at San Jose.
While Sharks netminder Antti Niemi pitched a shutout on Saturday, Habs
goaltender Peter Budaj gave up two goals on 11 shots before being pulled early
in the second period for the Canadiens. Dustin Tokarski gave up the other two
goals on 22 shots in relief.
"We played terrible," said Canadiens' Max Pacioretty. "We didn't play our game
plan, we just played awful."
With No. 1 goaltender Carey Price dealing with a lower-body issue, Budaj could
get the start again on Wednesday. Price anchored Team Canada to a gold medal
at the Sochi Olympics, but also returned from Russia with an injury that has
kept him sidelined for the first seven games after the break.
Price faced shots at practice on Tuesday and could be nearing a return to game
action, but he isn't expected to suit up for tonight's tilt.
The Canadiens, however, could get forward Brandon Prust back on Wednesday for
the first time since the Olympic break. Prust, who has five goals and six
assists over 48 games this season, last played on Feb. 8 when he suffered an
03/12 10:44:09 ET