( Photo Credit: Top Bet )
By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob
The Boston Bruins will host their greatest rival on Monday night – the Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday after working their way to a tie game late in the third period.
Montreal is currently trying to build upon a two-game winning streak with victories against the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators. The Bruins are just one point behind the Canadiens so there could result in a change in the structure of the Eastern Conference standings.
David Krejci extended his point streak to six games in Sunday’s loss to the Sabres. He now has three goals and six assists in that span. He has been playing alongside David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand; keeping that line going in the absence of Patrice Bergeron. There are those who argue this trio shouldn’t be broken up even when Bergeron returns to the lineup. It’s something to consider – even if it is just keeping Pastrnak and Krejci together to have two-well rounded lines. Either way, Krejci has been strong as of late and will look to continue his point streak against the Habs.
Max Domi is the Canadiens’ top point producer. He has scored 14 goals and 19 assists in 33 games this season and is a huge reason why the Habs are currently in fourth place in the Atlantic Division after a subpar 2017-18 season. Domi had 45 points in a full season with the Arizona Coyotes last season – it seems that the change of scenery has helped the forward grow as he is on pace to nearly double that total by the end of the 2018-19 campaign.
Carey Price has five wins in his last five starts, giving up 12 goals during that span. After sporting a 3-5-2 record and .886 SV% in the month of November, it seems as though the Habs’ netminder is caught the holiday spirit. Since the first of the month, Price is 6-1-0 with a .915 SV%. He will certainly be a tough test for a Bruins offense that has struggled to come up with consistent secondary scoring.
Speaking of Boston’s secondary scoring, that’s what hasn’t been hot for Boston. David Backes, Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly, Chris Wagner, Noel Acciari – all are forwards who have appeared in at least 27 games and have yet to come up with more than seven points. They have done well in other facets, whether that be through physical play or a solid two-way game. However, the Bruins need their bottom lines to pitch in. They simply haven’t thus far.
Despite being one of Montreal’s top producers, Tomas Tatar has hit a rough patch in the month of December. In his last five games, the forward has a goal and an assist, going pointless in his last three appearances. Overall, Tatar has 12 goals and 12 assists in 33 games this season and has the ability to break out this (potentially) brief slump.
Bruins vs. Canadiens Outlook
The Bruins are certainly in the weeds, working their way to a 3-5-0 record halfway through the month of December. During that span, Boston has given up 28 goals while only scoring 21 themselves. They have simply been subpar throughout the month despite a few glimmers of hope, and have dropped way too many contests to division opponents.
They have another tough division rival in the Canadiens on Monday night. The Habs have a red-hot goaltender and are trying to extend a winning streak and will likely give the Bruins quite the headache. The first line hasn’t been enough to power Boston to victory in recent weeks, and if secondary scoring doesn’t come soon, they will more than likely find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture.