The greatest rivalry in all of sports takes to the ice for the second time this season, and the 736th time in the history of regular season hockey. Earlier this season, the Canadiens strolled in to Boston and walked out with a 4-2 win. In that game however, the rivalry that had gone seemingly dormant in years past, was once again entertaining to watch. There was hard hits, good scrums, and a close game. It was a lot of fun to watch. Can they put on the same performance tonight, this time in Montreal?
The Canadiens have been a thorn in the sides of the Bruins throughout history, but particularly the last few seasons. Of the last 10 meetings between the storied franchises, the Hated Habs have taken 8 of them. It’s almost guaranteed in the minds of Habs’ fans that they’re going to find a way to win. The Bruins are hoping to change that tonight. It could be an uphill battle, though.
The Habs have been on a roll to start the season, jumping out to a 10-1-1 record. Their only hiccup, a shootout loss to Ottawa in the second game of the year, and the second one, which was so embarrassing I won’t even bring it up. Who am I kidding? I’m a B’s fan! Of course I’m going to bring up the fact that my arch-nemesis was destroyed 10-0 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Nonetheless, Montreal has been impressive, as much as it pains me to say. They’re getting production from everybody, and Carey Price continues to show why he is widely-considered the best goalie in the world. I know, you hate hearing that, but it’s true. Carey Price is damn good. Why can’t he play for Boston?
On the other side, Boston has a really good road team again this year. Their only wins against Montreal last year came at the Bell Centre. They have a 5-2-0 record away from the Garden (against a 2-3-0 record at home), and look to improve upon that tonight.
Now that the background story is out of the way, let’s focus on the 3 major stories coming into meeting 736.
Montreal’s DOMINANT Start –
As mentioned, Montreal has a 10-1-1 record and is the best team in the league. They have a +11 goal differential overall, and are undefeated at home. With Carey Price healthy, this is a team that could be looking at adding onto its storied past, and get another Cup. They are led in scoring by Alex Galchenyuk, with 4 goals and 7 assists for 11 points. Price has a 7-0-0 record, a 1.57 GAA, and has been on the ice for 419:10 as Montreal’s backstopper. After a few years as a mid-pack team, Montreal is looking poised to return to the Cup picture.
Tuukka Rask Starting Again –
Nothing has been confirmed, but so far, according to nhl.com, the signs all point to Rask manning between the pipes. Rask has been impressive, but after starting in 5 consecutive games now, one must wonder how much Rask has in the tank before he has a meltdown, and has another New York type game. He was great last night, but I’m not sure if starting him back to back is a good idea. Especially with the whole leg situation, which nobody really knows what’s going on, I don’t want to burn him out. This is a game we want to win, for sure, but we don’t to risk Rask to do it.
Great Win for Boston, Huge Loss for Montreal –
While it wasn’t in their last game, the 10-0 loss is still fresh in the mind of Montreal. How can you forget about getting whooped that bad? They had a less than impressive 5-4 win against Philadelphia in their last game, but it wasn’t enough to counter the huge loss. Meanwhile, Boston is coming off a dominant 4-0 performance, on home ice, an area in which the Bruins struggles have been well documented. The momentum pendulum is swinging Boston’s way right now, and hopefully they can keep it up!
*Mini-story – Jimmy Hayes, Joe Morrow and Zane McIntyre were the only people on the ice for work this morning, so it would appear none of them are going to play tonight.
1. Keep the Volume Down –
It’s Montreal-Boston, it’s in Montreal, it’s going to be loud. The higher the decibel-level, the better the home team plays. Score early, establish the physical game, and take the crowd out of the game. If you can quiet a Canadiens crowd, you’ll do just fine.
2. Hit the Hot Hand –
It was a key in the last game and it’s a key in this one. David Pastrnak has a 4 game goal streak. That’s impressive! He’s becoming a threat everytime he takes to the ice. When you’re hot, you’re hot, and right now, Pasta is cooking! (Sorry). He really is, though. He has been one of the best forwards on the squad, and the Bruins should take advantage of that.
3. Build On Last Game –
It was a 4-0 win against a division opponent! Use the momentum to your advantage, and go get another one. Rask is a good goalie, and hopefully he isn’t worn out. We have a good offense, and stout penalty kill. We could win this game. But I don’t think we will. We just have to focus on what we did well, and do more of it. If we can do that, we will win this game.
Projected Lines –
MY LINEUP –
Prediction: BOS 3-4 MTL (OT) I think we can get a point, but cant win. We had a solid game in Boston, but late defensive woes blew it. Montreal has been hot enough, and we’ve been decent enough, that they’re going to win, but they’ll have to fight!
Who do you have winning tonight? What are your 3 keys? How much do you hate the Habs? Let me know in the comments! GO B’S!