The past few days have not been kind to the Canadiens and Bruins as both teams have been rattled with terrible news. Canadiens GM Bob Gainey was informed his daughter was swept overboard of a tall ship off the coast of Cape Cod she has now been missing for over three days and with each passing hour it appears less and less likely she will be found alive.
The Bruins emotional blow comes from their first round selection in the NHL’s 2006 entry draft. Phil Kessel has been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Kessel is currently at Mass. General Hospital and was last reported to be awaiting surgery. On the bright side testicular cancer is regarded and one of the most curable types of cancer. Kessel is reported to be in good sprits.
Both teams will have to control their emotions tonight and attempt to focus on a game that must seem insignificant in the scope of recent events, but as professionals you can bet they will look at this as a chance to inspire the traumatized members of their respective organizations.
Tonight’s game will be the third meeting between the Bruins and Canadiens with each team having won in the opposing teams barn. Andrei Markov scored the winner with 1.2 seconds remaining in the third period on October 26th to provide the Canadiens with a 3-2 victory. On Monday December 4th it was Brad Stuart’s late third period goal that wrapped up a wild 6-5 Bruins victory.
Boston currently sits in 5th in the Northeast division, which is not too bad considering the Northeast is the NHL’s only division where each team is at or above the .500 mark. Boston is currently one point behind the Senators and Maple Leafs, but the Bruins have played four fewer games. The Canadiens are second in the division and have matched last years record through 29 games.
The Bruins have won five of their previous six road games and have only lost four of their last fourteen overall. The Canadiens on the other hand have struggled as of late winning just three of their last eight games, thankfully for the Habs two of the loses came after regulation time.
Game Notes: Bruins forward PJ Axelsson did not travel to Montreal and will not be in the line-up. Sheldon Souray, Steve Begin and Francois Bouillon all missed yesterday’s practice and are listed as doubtful for tonight. David Aebischer will get the start in goal for the Canadiens.
1. Prior to the last Canadiens Bruins game Zdeno Chara, had scored at least one goal in five of his last seven meetings with the Canadiens.
2. Should Sheldon Souray miss tonight’s game it would surely hurt the Canadiens as he is the leader in goals and power play points. Souray also has a four game point streak against the Bruins.
3. David Aebischer has not recorded a victory since November 7th against the Oilers.