Montreal Canadiens (30-19-5) at Boston Bruins (30-16-7)
The Canadiens face the Bruins tonight at TD Garden and will look to gain ground in the see-saw race for the Northeast Division title. Thus far this year, Montreal has edged out Boston in each of their three meetings.
The Bruins continue to rank as the top defensive squad in the league, led by the stellar play of Tim Thomas, who will likely get the start versus Montreal. The Michigan native leads all goaltenders with 7 shutouts, an impressive 1.80 goals against and an almost unbelievable .945 save percentage. However, it should be noted that Thomas’ career numbers drop sharply versus the Habs, a team he has long struggled against. As good as the goalkeeping and defence have been, the team is also quite productive offensively, generating an average of 3 goals per game. Ancienne-Lorette native Patrice Bergeron leads his squad with 44 points while former Canadien Mark Recchi, at the ripe age of 43 years old, is second with an impressive 36 points. Unfortunately for the Bruins, their attack has taken a significant hit as it was announced that center Marc Savard, who is once again afflicted by concussion problems, will not play for the rest of the season.
Montreal, like Boston, have won three of their past four contests. They are coming off a disappointing loss to the lowly New Jersey Devils and their powerplay has been dismal of late, going 0-for-22 in the past five contests. Hopefully, the man advantage will receive a boost from the return of blueliner James Wisniewki, who will reinsert the lineup tonight . The aforementioned Wisniewski is second in team scoring with 34 points and has accumulated 13 of those points in his 15 games with the Tricolore.
Nonetheless, Jacques Martin will still be deprived of another key weapon as sniper Mike Cammalleri will miss an eighth straight contest. Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges, it goes without saying, are out for the season. As for the Bruins, other than Savard, the only absence of note is that of Daniel Paille, who is currently serving a four-game suspension for a hit to the head.
Puck drops at 7:00 pm and the game will be broadcast on RDS, TSN and Versus in the United States.