It's been 357 days since the Montreal Canadiens last faced off against the Boston Bruins. The hype for tonight is palpable.
In fact, the NHL's official site doesn't even want to remember the season series from last year, instead producing a glitch that shows this:
In reality, Montreal went 2-3-1 against the Bruins last year, which brings their record against Boston to 6-5-1 over the last two years, 9-6-4 if you include playoffs.
Earlier in the week, Joe Yerdon of NBC's Pro Hockey Talk said that the Habs/Bruins season series has been "hammer meet nail lately" in favour of the Bruins. Doesn't exactly make sense with a 9-6-4 record over the last 19 games, even if you flip that to a 9-10 record, the Habs have been competitive with the best Bruins team since the 70's. But then again, he works for NBC so...
All 6 games between these two teams last season were decided by a single goal, the only outlier being an empty netter in a 4-2 win by the Canadiens in game 2.
That's what makes this rivalry special. No matter how bad the Canadiens are, they always give the Bruins a run for their money. The Canadiens were terrible last year, there's no two ways about it, but the problems were easily reparable and it seems like they have been.
Interestingly, almost all of Boston's wins over the last few years against Montreal happened with now-hiding-in-a-bunker Tim Thomas, while Tuukka Rask has a 1-6-1 with a .908 save percentage against Montreal in his 9 career starts.
Carey Price on the other hand, has a 15-7-3 record against Boston with a .918 save percentage in 25 career starts.
So it should be an exciting matchup and one with a slightly lower chance of cheap shots since Brad Marchand didn't skate today, and likely won't play.
For the view from the other side, and the second period thread, check out Stanley Cup of Chowder.
Game time is 7:30PM EST on RDS and TSN.