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Canadiens vs. Bruins: Game preview, start time, Tale of the Tape, and how to watch

Montreal is ready for a matchup against longtime rival Boston.

NHL: JAN 12 Canadiens at Bruins Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins

How to watch

Start time: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Bruins region: NESN

Despite managing to sneak a win last game in overtime versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, the very injury-plagued Montreal Canadiens face probably their biggest test of the season, as they face off against their bitter rival, the Boston Bruins, Thursday night at the Bell Centre.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistics Bruins
Canadiens Statistics Bruins
20-24-3 Record 37-5-4
44.6% (26th) Scoring-chances-for % 54.7% (4th)
2.57 (29th) Goals per game 3.80 (1st)
3.64 (28th) Goals against per game 2.02 (1st)
15.0% (31st) PP% 27.0% (3rd)
74.0% (26th) PK% 87.1% (1st)
0-3-1 21-22 H2H Record 4-0-0

Upon receiving the news about Cole Caufield being sidelined for the rest of the season with a right shoulder injury that required surgery, the Canadiens were, needless to say, at a loss for words. Many players and fans alike were shocked. The 22-year-old Hobey Baker Award-winner had been turning heads for Montreal this season, establishing a career-high 26 goals through his first 46 games. Although the team as a whole wasn’t necessarily succeeding in this rebuild year, Caufield was someone who brought his A-game every night, and made fans jump out of their seats with his electrifying performances, night after night.

He joins Jake Evans, Juraj Slafkovský, Brendan Gallagher, Kaiden Guhle, and others on an extensive list of players in the infirmary.

This has had the benefit of allowing the promotion of forwards Rem Pitlick and Rafael Harvey-Pinard from the Laval Rocket. Both went on to be instrumental in the overtime victory. Harvey-Pinard potted his second career goal past Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov to tie the game at two-apiece. Then Pitlick, who has bounced back and forth between Montreal and Laval all season long, got to play the hero as his second goal in as many games proved to be the game-winner just over two minutes into the extra frame.

Although Toronto has been rather successful this season, no team has compared to the big, bad, Boston Bruins. Their record of 37-5-4 (78 points) is leading the league by a large margin, and they look to be frontrunners for the President’s Trophy. Their next closest opponent is the Carolina Hurricanes, at 66 points.

They come into Montreal’s barn having won their last five in a row, outscoring the opposition by a 21-5 margin. The Bruins are currently atop the leaderboard in nearly every category, sitting first in both goals for (3.80) and against (2.02) and are poised to hit record numbers.

Goaltender Linus Ullmark, a sixth-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres back in 2012, is right now sitting at a record of 25-2-1 through his first 29 games this season. Ullmark’s career-high in wins set last season in Boston at 26, but he played 11 more games. The 29-year-old Swede set an NHL record for the quickest 25 wins to start a season. His three losses came on November 5 (2-1 versus Toronto), December 15 (2-1 in overtime versus Los Angeles) and January 12 (3-0 versus Seattle). It appears like the words “Vezina” and “Ullmark” are going together nicely this season, barring a major upset.

There is no stopping a Bruins’ top line that has been dominant over the past few seasons. Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, and former enemy number one in the NHL, Brad Marchand, have collectively terrorized opponents all season long. Pastrnak is leading the way with 36 goals and 65 points, good enough for fourth place in league scoring. Marchand has 15 goals and 44 points, and Bergeron, the five-time Selke-winner for league’s best defensive forward, has 17 goals and 37 points.

David Krejci, who played the entire 2021-22 season in his native Czech Republic, has returned to Boston with a vengeance. The 36-year-old just played career NHL game number 1000 last week, and is currently fourth in scoring with 11 goals and 37 points, tied with Bergeron.

Montreal really didn’t fare well against Boston last season, dropping all four games and being outscored 18-8. Three of the games saw Boston score five goals and easily manhandle Montreal’s defence core, which only got younger this season.

Leading the way for the offence for Boston last season was Marchand, who notched five goals and three assists in the series, including a hat trick on January 12, 2022. The leading scorer for Montreal will likely surprise you: Michael Pezzetta, who notched two goals and one assist.

It will have to be an excellent error-free 60-minute game for Montreal to take this game Tuesday, but if you’ve been watching the team lately, you know they're been sneaky and might be able to pull one unbelievable trick from their sleeve. The magic happens tonight at the rink.