Bruins Game 34 Preview: Montreal Canadiens

( 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.

Who’s Hot?

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.

Bergeron Price

Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America

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.

Who’s Not?

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.

Bruin Habs

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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Bruins Game 23 Preview: Montreal Canadiens

Chara Canadiens

(Credit: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Boston Bruins travel north of the border on Saturday to rekindle one of the best rivalries in hockey with the Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins snagged six of the eight available points in their last four games, most recently topping the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime on Friday.

On the other hand, the Canadiens march into the fray with an 11-7-5 record, trailing the B’s by just one point. With both teams currently in wild-card positions, this game could go a long way in determining the Eastern Conference’s playoff tree by the season’s end.

Who’s Hot?

Joakim Nordstrom notched the game-winning goal on Friday against the Penguins. It was the first overtime goal of his career, coming off a deflection on Torey Krug’s shot from the point. The tally was Nordstrom’s fourth of the season. It seems that his moving up and down the lineup has not hampered his game thus far. Even when he’s not producing, Nordstrom has been impressive and has proven to be a great free-agent acquisition.

David Krejci has been asked to fill the skates of Patrice Bergeron on the first line. While that’s a tall order, Krejci has done his best and has made the most of the extra ice time. The centerman registered a helper in Friday’s game but was also partially responsible for Nordstrom’s goal. The 32-year-old made a stellar play along the boards to keep the puck in the zone at the end of a long 3-on-3 shift. That possession eventually resulted in Nordstrom’s heroic deflection.

Max Domi has proven to be a great addition for the Habs. The 23-year-old leads the team in scoring with 11 goals and 15 assists through 23 games. He recently had an 11-game point streak going that came to an end on Friday in Buffalo. Domi will certainly be looking to pick apart are damaged Bruins defense and a hot-and-cold Tuukka Rask.

Jonathan Drouin, one of Domi’s linemates, has registered eight goals and 11 assists so far this season. Seven of his 19 points have come on the man advantage which has been keeping Montreal’s power play out of the dog house. The Habs have a 14.6% execution rate when up a man, while the league’s average is 20.7%.

Who’s Not?

Noel Acciari has remained almost silent for the Bruins. He has just one point in 19 games and is a minus-6. The depth forward has bounced around Boston’s bottom-six this season, averaging 11:36 in ice time per game.

Acciari Canadiens

(Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot)

Anders Bjork and Danton Heinen have continued to struggle with the hockey blues. Neither forward has registered a point since November 11th. Though they have had some good shifts, execution is the trait they have lacked which is something they need to turn around. Bjork was scratched for Friday’s game which could be a sign of things to come if he can’t find the scoresheet.

Matthew Peca has struggled on Montreal’s third line. He has come up with just six points in 21 games while earning a plus-minus rating of minus-5. He’s been averaging less than 16 shifts per game and needs to up his game to give the Habs some much-needed secondary scoring.

Bruins vs. Canadiens Outlook

The Bruins have a tough test in front of them in the form of Montreal. The Canadiens weren’t originally expected to be a competitive team this season. However, they have proven the naysayers wrong and will be in contention for a playoff spot if they continue to compete at the level they have been.

The Bruins will likely need Rask to stand on his head much like Jaroslav Halak was forced to on Friday. While they aren’t facing the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Habs have some lethal scorers who will make a mess of Boston if they are not careful. Meanwhile, the Canadiens will look to take advantage of Boston’s banged-up defense and a number of rookies taking the ice for the Bruins on Saturday.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Montreal at Boston: 10/27/18

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PHOTO CREDITS: (MICHAEL DWYER/AP)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Home: Boston Bruins (6-2-2)

Away: Montreal Canadiens (5-2-2)

For the first time this season, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens will meet on the ice for a regular season game. Boston is coming off of back-to-back wins over the Ottawa Senators and the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bruins managed to keep the Flyers off of the scoresheet during Thursday’s game, winning by a final score of 3-0. Boston will look to win a third-straight game to try and forget about the sub-par Canadian road trip that saw three defeats one after another.

The Canadiens on the other hand, most recently lost only their second game in regulation last Thursday night, losing 4-3 to the Buffalo Sabres. Even with the loss, Montreal is still fourth in the Atlantic division prior to game time, a feat that many people thought was unlikely prior to the start of the 2018-19 NHL season.

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Krug, Vaakanainen, Miller (four weeks), Backes, and are all out of the lineup vs Montreal.

First Period:

The opening four minutes of the hockey game saw some good rushes by the Boston Bruin forwards, including chances by Jake DeBrusk as well as a wrap-around chance for Sean Kuraly. The Bruins seem to be on their game but it remains early in the contest.

Not long later, only 4:42 into the frame, Pastrnak gets called for a two-minute minor for slashing behind Carey Price. The penalty-kill for Boston has not been the best during the season thus far, killing off 77% of the penalties called against them. Thankfully for the Bruins, the Canadiens had some poor passes in the offensive zone, losing out on the powerplay opportunity and Boston makes the successful kill.

The speed and offensive talent of both teams were showcased about eight minutes into the period. Jake DeBrusk showed great speed on the forecheck, only for Max Domi to rush into the Boston zone the other way, almost getting in on Rask, but is shut down by Matt Grzelcyk.

Just shy of ten minutes in, it would be Brendan Gallagher who opened the scoring in the game. Gallagher dangled around Noel Acciari and shot an odd angled-shot that beat Rask who most likely wants that one back. 1-0 Canadiens.

The momentum of the goal just woke up Montreal. The Bruins could not keep up with the speed of Montreal, allowing many 2-on-1 chances for the Canadiens – making it seem like 3-on-3 overtime. Boston seemed asleep and Max Domi would capitalize on the delayed penalty just over a minute and a half after the Gallagher goal. 2-0 Montreal.

The first goal was on Tuukka, but the defence was not helping the cause on the second goal whatsoever. Can’t blame Rask fully on the second tally, but did not do his job perfectly either.

As the first twenty minutes come to a close, the Bruins draw their first penalty of the game, a tripping minor to Matthew Peca. The Bruins are 9 for 29 on the man-advantage on the year and a goal would be big late in the opening period. The B’s had a big chance off a one-timer shot, then a rebound shot that was batted at the net by Ryan Donato. Price stops both chances and the Bruins have to reset the power-play.

With no lack of effort during the 5-on-4 session, the Canadiens successfully killed off the penalty to Peca and it is back to 5-on-5. The first period of play ended there, Montreal holds the 2-0 lead over Boston heading into the first intermission.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 7 MTL: 9

Score: 2-0 Canadiens

Second Period:

Not a whole lot of action started the second-period, but almost halfway through the middle frame, Anders Bjork feeds Ryan Donato on the zone entry who snipes the shot short-side past Carey Price making it 2-1 Montreal, or so it seemed. Canadiens Head Coach Claude Julien challenged the play for a possible offside and unfortunately, the goal was reversed – no goal.

Even though Donato was robbed of his goal (would’ve been goal number two for him on the year), he continues to shoot the puck towards the net with a great release. Would be great for him to score a goal this period to really get that proverbial monkey off his back.

Boston has improved their play after the first intermission, outshooting the Canadiens eleven shots to four just over ten minutes into the second period. Not much really developed for the remainder of the period. Boston had some solid pressure but the Canadiens have been doing a good job keeping the B’s to the outside and preventing any high-quality scoring opportunities.

With less than ten seconds in the frame, however, the Bruins find themselves on a possible 3-on-1 break, but Ryan Donato trips on his own skates as he enters the zone, but Joakim Nordstrom was close enough to rip a heavy slapshot on the net. Carey Price flashes the leather with a massive windmill glove save as the clock expires.

Boston had a decent first half of the period but then allowed Montreal to fire on the net more and more. B’s now headed into the final period down two goals and a real lack of intensity from the Bruins club. Not a great effort from the entire team after forty minutes of play and the hope is that Bruce Cassidy can bring up the morale during the intermission break.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 19 MTL: 19

Score: 2-0 Canadiens

Third Period:

Entering the third period with the fifth-most third-period goals so far this season with 14, the Bruins need an early goal to bring back the momentum in the TD Garden crowd tonight. Been a bit too quiet and the players seem to be feeding off of the lack of energy with the play.

The third-line of Nordstrom, Donato, and Bjork has arguably been the best line for the Bruins tonight and three minutes in the period, they found some solid chances to score. Ryan Donato has been shooting a lot since having his goal changed earlier on in the game. Relentless on the forecheck as well.

On another offensive rush to the Montreal zone, Ryan Donato gets tripped up, sending the Bruins to the powerplay. Joel Armia is the man who will serve the minor for the Canadiens. Fifty seconds into the man-advantage, however, Tuukka Rask comes out of the net, tripping Byron and the powerplay is over for Boston. Donato serves the penalty.

For the rest of the game, the Bruins could not get any chances to score a goal on Price. Even with some powerplays, the Canadiens shut down any small chance and cleared the puck. David Pastrnak had the best chance of the final period, a slot shot off of a David Krejci feed that Price read completely, making a routine chest save.

Jordie Benn would bury the empty-net goal off of a bank shot and the Canadiens win the hockey game 3-0 the final score. Price’s win officially puts him above Patrick Roy for the second-most wins in franchise history for Montreal (290 wins).

Shots on Goal: BOS: 33 MTL: 23

Final Score: 3-0 Canadiens

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: MTL G Carey Price – 33 Saves, 1.00 SV%

2nd Star: MTL F Artturi Lehkonen – 2 Assists, +2 Rating, 18:43 TOI

3rd Star: MTL F Brendan Gallagher – 1 Goal, +1 Rating, 3 Shots

The Boston Bruins will look for a quick turnaround when they hit the ice on Tuesday, October 30th against the Carolina Hurricanes (6-3-1) in Raleigh, North Carolina. Puck drop for that game is currently scheduled for 7:00pm EST. The Bruins record is now 6-3-2 and they sit fourth in the Atlantic division with fourteen points.

Bruins Game 11 Preview: Montreal Canadiens

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Following a sub-par Canadian road trip, the Bruins returned home against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night – picking up a 3-0 victory over the Flyers. The win marked the second-consecutive “W” for the Bruins, after defeating the Ottawa Senators 4-1 on Tuesday night.

The Bruins now turn their attention to the Montreal Canadiens, who sit fourth in the NHL’s Atlantic division with a record of 5-2-2 after nine games. Montreal will come to the TD Garden in Boston with an away record of 1-1-2, while the Bruins have an undefeated home record of 4-0-0. This will be the 743rd official game between the Bruins and Canadiens – Boston entering the October 27th meeting with a 279-351-103-9 franchise record against the Habs.

One of the biggest storylines for Boston over the past few games has been the number of injuries to the team with Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, Urho Vaakanainen, Charlie McAvoy, and David Backes all out of the last game, the Bruins have been quite depleted. On the flip side, the Canadiens have three players on the injured reserve – Shea Weber, David Schlemko, and Tomas Plekanec.

Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy did mention on Friday that “there’s a chance” that Krug plays in his season debut against Montreal. Krug has not yet played during the 2018-19 season due to a left ankle injury suffered in the preseason.

Who’s Hot?

Instead of breaking down every individual on that Bruins top line, it is fair to say that the entire line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak is the best thing going for the Boston club so far this season.

Patrice Bergeron leads the charge with sixteen points (seven goals, nine assists), followed by David Pastrnak with fifteen (ten goals, five assists) and Brad Marchand’s thirteen points (two goals, eleven assists).

Zdeno Chara scored two goals against Philadelphia on Thursday, playing over twenty-two minutes on the ice, trailing only Brandon Carlo for Bruins time-on-ice in the Flyers game.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (PAUL CHIASSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Recently-acquired Max Domi has been nothing short of solid for the Canadiens to start the 2018-19 campaign, scoring four goals and six assists for ten points in nine games played thus far. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada native was traded to Montreal by the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk last June.

With the absence of Shea Weber, Jeff Petry has taken hold of Montreal’s blueline, playing around the 23-minute mark in each of his last five games. Petry has nine points (eight assists) for Montreal so far and he could continue to be a threat for Boston.

Who’s Not

While the Bruins depth still remains quiet, they helped win the Flyers game. Boston’s top line did not earn a single point in the 3-0 win, but David Krejci, Danton Heinen, and Jake DeBrusk all added a point in the outing. Still, aside from Krejci, DeBrusk and Heinen, no other Bruin forward has more than three points and that needs to change. Boston cannot rely fully on 63-37-88 to carry the team for the entirety of the regular season and playoffs.

Tuukka Rask has not been too great to begin his ’18/’19 season. In five starts, Rask is 3-2-0 with a goals-against-average of 3.38 and a save percentage of .901%. Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed that Tuukka will get the start in goal, even though Halak is coming off of his second shutout in five starts. A win over the Habs could be a good turnaround for Rask as the season carries forward.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (JARED WICKERHAM / GETTY IMAGES)

Carey Price has not been too hot for Montreal like Rask has not been too hot for Boston. In six starts, Price has a 3-1-2 record with a 2.48 GAA and a .906 SV%. While his numbers are slightly better than Rask, he too needs to bring his game up if Montreal wants to remain in the top four in the Atlantic division standings. No official word has been released at this time if Price is starting, but the belief is that he will due to Niemi’s start in Thursday’s loss to Buffalo.

Bruins vs Canadiens Outlook

It could once again be a battle of who scores more goals. With poor goaltending on either side of the hockey rink and a depleted Bruins defensive core, don’t expect to see an extremely defensive hockey game on Saturday night.

The Canadiens have surprised the National Hockey League so far, or at least the teams they have placed against thus far, for their speed and skill on the puck – mainly by their young players like Domi, Drouin, and Kotkaniemi.

Montreal will look to attack the Bruins blueline with blazing speed through the neutral zone and score early and often against Tuukka Rask. If the Canadiens can get into the Bruins head early and keep the consistency for the remainder of the game, then the B’s could be in some trouble.

For Boston, they need to play solid defence and hope to capitalize on the possible mistakes that the young Montreal players will most likely make. The dangerous first-line of Boston needs to put out the true scoring threat and make the Canadiens less-willing to attempt that risky play.

The first of four meetings between Boston and Montreal takes place tonight at 7:00pm EST in Boston. A win for the Bruins would make it three-straight before a pair of road games against the Hurricanes and Predators. Montreal looks to get back to their winning ways as well, only losing their second regulation loss to Buffalo. A victory over the Bruins could bring back the fear that the Canadiens could be a possible contender in the Atlantic Division.