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Coming off their most successful month of hockey since January in the 1992-1993 season the Montreal Canadiens are looking to remove the Boston Bruins from the playoff picture for the third time in four seasons. A regulation loss tonight will mathematically remove the Bruins from the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Bruins arrive in Montreal having won only once in their last six games. On the other hand the Canadiens are seeking their sixth consecutive win.


The Canadiens are currently leading the season series with the Bruins 4-1. Cristobal Huet has recorded consecutive shutouts against the Bruins and has a 2-1 record against the Bruins in his young career. The Bruins will be without the services of Nick Boynton due to a shoulder injury that requires surgery.  The Canadiens will also be without a regular defenseman as Francis Bouillon remains sidelined with an ankle injury.


The Habs are still stuck in a stalemate with the Lightning and Devils for the final three spots in the Eastern Conference playoff race. All three teams have collected 83 points in 73 games. The Devils are in action this afternoon against the Philadelphia Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning are visiting their state rivals the Florida Panthers. The ninth place Atlanta Thrashers are also in action this evening in Carolina.


Both the Canadiens and Bruins have found diamonds in the rough with mature goaltenders this season. Tim Thomas broke free of his AHL’er status with his spectacular play since returning from Finland last season. Thomas earned points for the Bruins in nine of his first ten starts this season. Cristobal Huet who most experts considered a throw in on the trade that also brought Radek Bonk to Montreal has become a hero in Montreal boasting the NHL’s best save percentage and ranks second in goals against average and shutouts.


Chris Higgins is currently in the midst of a five game point streak which has seen him record six goals and two assists. In fact no NHL player has scored more goals than Higgins since the Olympic break. Higgins has twelve goals during that span. Two other players have also scored twelve goals since the break Jaromir Jagr and Alexander Ovechkin. Not bad company for the Canadiens rookie to keep.


Fun Facts


1.       Canadiens captain Saku Koivu will look for his first six game point streak since March 16th 2004.

2.       The Canadiens have recorded back to back 80+ point seasons for the first time since the 92-93 and 93-94 seasons.

3.       Should the Bruins fail to win the remainder of their games it will be the first time in five years they will miss the playoffs.