How to watch
Puck drop: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT
In Canada: CITY-TV, Sportsnet One (English), TVA (French),
In the US: NHL Network-US
In the Bruins region: NESN
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/Rogers NHL Live
It was a scant four years ago that the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins last met in the postseason. Watching P.K. Subban deke Tuukka Rask out of his jockstrap, Carey Price stone wave after wave of black and gold attacks, and Max Pacioretty rifle home the series-winning goal, one could almost think that they were witnessing the changing of the guard. That the window was slamming shut on an aging Boston team who were desperate to recapture the magic of 2011, and that a youthful and talented Canadiens squad was poised to step into that void.
How things change in four years.
The Bruins did wobble for a few years after that shock defeat, missing the playoffs for two consecutive seasons. Since then, the black-and-gold have rebounded in a big way, being led by arguably the best line in hockey: David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand. Meanwhile, the Canadiens... well, we all know what happened to the Canadiens.
Tale of the Tape
|0-2-2||H2H Record (17-18)||4-0-0|
|52.3% (8th)||Corsi-for pct.||51.7% (10th)|
|29 (17th)||Goals for||34 (6th)|
|25 (10th)||Goals against||24 (8th)|
|19.4% (19th)||PP%||31.0% (5th)|
|74.2% (22nd)||PK%||77.4% (16th)|
Perhaps the best indicator of the gap between the Canadiens and the Bruins came during a single week last season where the B’s defeated the Habs three consecutive times en route to a season series sweep.
But this October has indicated that these are not last year’s Canadiens.
The Habs head into Beantown for the first time this regular season led by a renewed and well-balanced attack. Eleven different forwards have scored so far this season for the Bleu-blanc-et-rouge, with last season’s leading scorer Brendan Gallagher continuing his torrid pace with five. Only four players who have suited up for the Habs this season have yet to record a point: Jordie Benn, Victor Mete, the oft-scratched Karl Alzner, and the recently returned Nicolas Deslauriers.
The Habs are also riding a wave of momentum, despite a defeat by the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night, having secured nine out of a possible 12 points in their last six games. All of these factors, plus the prospect of a Saturday night game against their biggest rival, should indicate that we’ll see a fired-up Habs team hit the TD Garden ice.
Facing them will be a Bruins squad who, after an opening night shellacking at the hands of the Washington Capitals, responded with four consecutive wins before dropping three straight decisions on a Western Canada road trip. A return to the Eastern Time Zone was met with better results with wins over the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers.
The Bruins are led by their big three, all of whom are scoring at a greater than point per game clip, with Pastrnak averaging a goal per game. Beyond that, they have David Krejci (nine points in 10 games) and then their next highest-scoring forward, Jake DeBrusk, with three points.
The Canadiens did an excellent job of neutralizing Calgary’s top players on Tuesday night. They’ll have to do likewise tonight in Boston if they’re to secure first blood against their old rivals this season. With Antti Niemi having started in Buffalo, it’ll likely be time for an old-fashioned duel between Carey Price and Tuukka Rask. A visit from 2014 Tuukka or 2014 Carey wouldn’t hurt the Habs either.