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The last time the Canadiens suited up for a game was on January 1. In the first game of the new year the Habs dressed every player they had: 11 forwards, five defencemen, and two goalies. Surprisingly, they managed to hold their own against the Florida Panthers with goals from Jonathan Drouin and Nick Suzuki. But once the Panthers ended the second period with the lead, it stayed that way until the final buzzer sounded in a 5-2 win for Florida.
Injuries plus COVID protocol has equalled one helluva season. While not fully out of the woods yet, there was some promising news ahead of Sunday’s practice — the first practice of the new year. Eight players came out of protocol, with two more joining the team on Tuesday, and four injured players (Josh Anderson, Joel Armia, Mike Hoffman, and Christian Dvorak) were on the ice in no-contact jerseys. As of Tuesday, all but Anderson were given the green light to play. Since December started to feel like a horror movie of continuous injuries and a coronavirus outbreak that took down pretty much the whole team, this news was worth cracking open a cold one (damn you, Dry January).
One of those players released from protocol was Jake Allen. While his backup, and his backup’s backup did their best while he was out, with 48 games remaining it’s good to have him take his place between the pipes.
Tale of the Tape
|48.0% (22nd)||Scoring-chances-for %||53.5% (2nd)|
|2.12 (32nd)||Goals per game||3.06 (15th)|
|3.62 (29th)||Goals against per game||2.59 (7th)|
|11.0% (32nd)||PP%||23.2% (9th)|
|71.6% (30th)||PK%||80.4% (10th)|
|0-1-0||H2H Record (19-20)||1-0-0|
Wrapping up a short road trip, the Bruins started their week with an impressive thumping of the Washington Capitals, scoring six goals in a row and coming away with a 7-3 victory on Monday night. Brad Marchand didn’t let a bloody nose stop him. If anything, it fueled the fire as he jumped back on the ice and immediately helped lead his team back from a two-goal deficit, scoring twice and picking up two assists in the comeback.
And how about that second-line trio of Taylor Hall, Erik Haula and David Pastrnak? These guys also made their presence known with Pastrnak notching two goals of his own while Hall picked up the apples. That makes five goals in the past six games for Pastrnak and a total of 19 points for that line since being put together. I wonder if Bruce Cassidy will get creative and split them up tonight?
And are you ready for this? Tonight’s backup goalie for Boston will be none other than the winningest goalie in franchise history, Tuukka Rask. That’s right. He’s back. On Monday Rask signed a one-year deal with his old club.
This game was originally scheduled as a home game for the Habs, but due to restrictions in Quebec was moved to TD Garden instead of joining the 100 other games on the postponed list. Since the Canadiens are currently not scheduled to have another game at the Bell Centre until January 27, tonight’s game will kick off a seven-game road trip.
The Habs are coming off an 10-day break and the players who will suit up tonight will be shaking off COVID, injuries, or just a lot of rust. Although the team is finally beginning to resemble the Canadiens team that started the season and not a mishmash of NHL, AHL, and even ECHL players, who knows what tonight will bring.
The last time these two teams faced off was on November 14, when the Bruins came out on the winning side of that thanks to a four-goal third period that led to a 5-2 win. Tonight’s matchup may not be the ideal time to be going back up against their rivals who aren’t doing too shabby in the standings, but the Canadiens have one thing going for them that they haven’t had in quite awhile — a full complement of players for the lineup. If nothing else, we’re finally getting a bit of hockey.