Tonight, Boston and Montreal are playing on a national broadcast, with the winner of the game moving into first in the Northeast Division. I cannot add anything to this formula to make it more exciting. If you're as pumped as I am, here are some links that will help you pass the time until puck drop:
Habs News and Analysis
- As of writing, the roster situation is the same today as it was yesterday. Brandon Prust, Yannick Weber, Raphael Diaz, and Rene Bourque are all inactive while Ryan White is out, day-to-day with a lower body injury. If changes are to be made, they will be game-time decisions. Carey Price will start.
- Christopher Boucher looks at Montreal's giveaways and takeaways on the season. It is important to note that Boucher has a very broad definition of these terms. Giveaways are defined as any failed attempt to maintain puck possession, for example a "failed pass, deke, dump-out, dump-in, shot-attempt, etc." while takeaways are defined as "any successful attempt to remove or acquire puck-possession from the opposition." including "[won] puck-battles, loose-puck recoveries, blocked shots, intercepted passes, etc." The results are broken up by defensive zone, neutral zone, offensive zone, and position. There's just too much good info to summarize here. Please check it out for yourself!
- Nicolino Dibenedetto of the Associated Press has a preview of tonight's Habs-Bruins game up on CBC Sports. Dibenedetto notes that the Bruins have a fantastic home record of 11-2-1 and will play 10 of their last 17 games at the Garden. This could have implications as these two teams battle for first in the Northeast. He also notes that Boston's power play has not being getting results as of late, going 0 for 10 in its last five games.
- The Habs-Bruins game is Backhand Shelf's game of the night. Although the Canadiens surprised author Justin Bourne with their ability to hang with the Penguins, he still feels that the Bruins are better "built for later-in-the season hockey." He's got the Bruins, at home, in this matchup.
Know Your Enemy: Boston Bruins Edition (spits)
- Things are also quiet on Boston's roster front. As of writing, Johnny Boychuk has not been cleared to play tonight. Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask was first off the ice at practice this morning and is projected to start. The recently claimed Kaspars Daugavins will not join the team in time for tonight's game.
- Sarah Connors from Stanley Cup of Chowder also has a preview of tonight's Bruins-Habs game. She notes that both teams have recently run into some poor shooting luck.
- Speaking of the aforementioned Daug-man, Scott over at the 6th Sens analyzes the Bruins' waiver claim of the Latvia native. Scott laments Daugavins' departure, noting the +7 scoring chance differential and positive possession numbers he put up amidst good competition and the toughest zone starts on the team. Daugavins is the quintessential "good fourth liner" and it's a shame that he's been replaced by Matt Kassian and gifted to the Bruins.
General News and Analysis
- Vice's Thomas Drance highlights the various discrepancies that can be found in the decisions of the NHL's Department of Player Safety. He cites GM reaction to Brendan Shanahan's initial "hard-line stance" as a contributing factor to the discrepancies we've seen.
- Tyler Dellow over at mc79hockey separates player data into Corsi and ice time buckets, comparing the stats of forwards in different roles. He notes some interesting things including a correlation between ice times and shooting percentages. When comparing lines to one another, Dellow feels that Corsi is a very good indicator of performance.
- After playing more than 24 minutes against the Habs, the Penguins have placed Kris Letang back on the injured reserve with a broken toe. It's a shame for the Pens as Letang's possession numbers last night were pretty good. He ranked third on the the team in Corsi and first overall among Pittsburgh's defensemen.
- Mr. T was at the Blackhawks game last night and scored a goal from centre ice on a "shooter tutor." Everyone is talking about it! Deadspin's Barry Petchesky calls it one of the greatest moments in hockey history. I don't think he's being completely sarcastic, either.
- The Not-So-Sweet-Sixteen: Goaltender Edition continues. Copper 'n' Blue's Scott Reynolds has a pretty fantastic match-up between Andrew Raycroft and Brian Boucher today. Looking at cumulative save percentages, both of these goalies have been outperformed by their "backups" overall. Also, both have had the worst SV% (min. 20 GP) in the league at least one time this century. It's a great matchup, be sure to vote for your favourite.
- Speaking of goaltenders, Jason Brough over at Pro Hockey Talk thinks that Sergei Bobrovsky should be in the conversation for the Veznia. Unfortunately for us, Brough is hedging his bets, listing twelve other goalies that he'd also put in the conversation.
- Jussi Jokinen has cleared waivers and will join the AHL's Charolette Checkers. Considering that the Oilers have over $17 million dollars in cap space and have not dressed "all 4 of their regular centres for [a] whole game since the 2nd week of the season," I'm kind of shocked that the Oil didn't waive one of their vending machines and pick Jokinen up. Then again, they are the Oilers.
Archive Material and EOTP News
- Andrew profiled Game 7 of the 1979 Conference Semifinals between Montreal and Boston in his "Revisiting Great Games" series back in November. He called it the greatest game in the greatest rivalry in the NHL. If you want to relive it, with full video, check it out!