( Photo Credit: Winslow Townson / AP Image )

By: BNG Staff | Follow us on Twitter @BlackNGoldPod

NHL 2021/22 is now moving into the final stages of the regular season, and the Boston Bruins have pretty much secured their place in the playoffs. The 3-2 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in their most recent match moved them up a single precious place in the Atlantic Division standings, and there is still a chance of grabbing the second-placed spot between now and the end of the month.

One of the games that they will face during that period is against old enemies, the Montreal Canadiens. It is one of hockey’s longest-running rivalries, dating back to the late 1920s, and the Canadiens would love to stop the Bruins from claiming second place in the Atlantic Division.

Bad Times for the Habs

The Bruins will face off against the Canadiens on April 25th at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The game is due to get underway at 7 pm (EDT), and the regular season will be coming to its climax by the time it is played.

Being at home for the match will give the Canadiens an advantage going into it, but there is no question that the Bruins are the team with more to actually play for. 

This has been a miserable season for the Canadiens, to put it bluntly. While the Bruins are sitting comfortably placed third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference, the picture is a lot less rosy for their old rivals.

The Canadiens are bottom of both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference, with a record of 19 wins and 39 defeats for the season so far. Those stats led to the departure of Coach Dominique Ducharme early in February, with Martin St Louis replacing him on an interim basis until the end of the season.

They will go into the game against the Bruins with nothing but pride to play for, having dropped out of the running for the playoffs last month. Ultimately, missing the star players Joel Edmondson, Carey Price, and their Captain Shea Weber doomed their season – coupled with a bad run at the start. 

It will be a massive disappointment for a side that reached the Stanley Cup last year, whereas the Bruins have a good shot at making the playoffs and competing for the trophy. None of that means a win is guaranteed on April 25th, though.

A Tough Rivalry

The two sides have played each other three times already this season, and the results make sweet reading for Bruins fans. Boston came out on top by 5-2 at home last November and then again by 5-1 in January. Things were no better for the Canadiens on home turf during March, where they lost by 2-3 to their deadly rivals.

That makes this coming match the last chance that they have to snatch something from a season to forget, and that could make them dangerous – even with key players not on the ice. We can be smug about our chances as the stronger and more in-form side going into the game, but this is the biggest head-to-head in the whole of the NHL.

From that first playoff encounter back in 1929, the Bruins vs. Habs rivalry got hot very quickly. The Bruins went on to win the coveted Stanley Cup in 1929, only for the Canadiens to take it from them the following season and then retain it in 1931.

That was the start of a battle that has often been pretty frustrating for Bruins fans. Although the Bruins are enjoying the better form right now, it is the Canadiens who have enjoyed more success over the years – with 24 Stanley Cups to our 6. 

Neither side has claimed the trophy recently, but this is still a significant game that draws a global viewing audience. Around 50 million people from all over the world are now fans of the NHL, and the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry is one of its main attractions.

The long history that the two teams have with each other also makes these games interesting for people to bet on. That is especially true in the modern era, as online betting sites have made it easy for people to wager on sports and games in other places.

Nowadays, it is simple for someone in a country like New Zealand to find an online bookies offering appealing odds for the Bruins against the Canadiens and then put a bet on them. Many find that this adds a bit of extra excitement to the game, especially if they are neutrals rather than Bruins or Habs fans. 

For supporters, the game itself is likely to provide plenty of tension. The chances are that the Canadiens will still be weakened by the absence of top players in goal and defense – with Weber rumored to be finished for good by injury. 

That leaves them much more vulnerable at the back than they would normally be, and the Bruins will be confident of exploiting that in such an important game. The Canadiens are playing better than they were earlier in the season, though, so a tight contest like the one in March is the most likely way that things will play out.

This is a huge match, even if the season is over for Montreal, as they will not want to lose to their old rivals again this season.