Coming off their bye week, the Montreal Canadiens are set to face off against their long-time archrival at the Bell Centre tonight, in their first match up of the season with the Boston Bruins. They won’t have to wait long either to see them again, as they will play two more games against in the coming week.
Carey Price has looked much more like himself in recent games, and showing that not all hope is lost for the bleu, blanc et rouge, especially with his performance against the Lightning.
But the biggest positive for the Canadiens was their offensive performance against Vancouver. No, they are not the best team in the league, however Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Paul Byron and Max Pacioretty were all able to get on the board.
It should be interesting to see how the new lines affect the Canadiens in this matchup. One line in particular, the combination of Galchenyuk, Jonathan Drouin, and Charles Hudon, could result in a deadly exploitation line for Montreal, given the offensive tendencies of the three young forwards. Drouin and Galchenyuk seem to be more comfortable with each other as well, and combined for a goal in their last game.
How to watch
Puck drop: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In Canada: Sportsnet, CBC (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the US: NHL Network
In the Bruins region: NESN
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL GameCentre Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
For the Bruins, they’ve been a surprise in the Atlantic Division. They were arguably a wild-card team coming into this season, but sit comfortably in second place in the division, tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
They’ve also had no issues scoring this year, sitting sixth in the NHL at 3.23 goals for per game. Brad Marchand leads the team in scoring once again, with 40 points in 32 games. After revamping his play style in recent years, he’s become one of the NHL’s top offensive threats. Not too far behind, David Pastrnak has made a name for himself as an up-and-coming sniper, tied for the team lead in goals with 17.
The Bruins are also coming off their bye week, and an 8-0-2 record in their last 10 games is something that the Canadiens must be mindful of, even despite the fact that they lost their previous game to the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 6-5 score.
This contest also marks the first time the Bruins will matchup against their former head coach, Claude Julien. He remains the all-time winningest coach in Bruins history, and led Boston to their most recent championship in 2011.
Despite the 13-point gap between the Canadiens and the Bruins, this game is vital for the Habs. If they have any hope of making the playoffs, Montreal must find consistency in order to gain the points to climb back into the race, especially against a team above them in the division standings.