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Although there are still a few weeks left before the start of the postseason, we have a good idea about a few teams that Montreal could face in the first round. How would they match up against their long-time rival in Boston?

Regular Season Results

October 16: Montreal 6, Boston 4
November 13: Montreal 5, Boston 1
November 22: Montreal 2, Boston 0
February 8: Montreal 3, Boston 1

Head-to-Head Leaders


Goals: Pacioretty (4), Parenteau/Weise/Gallagher (2)
Assists: Desharnais/Gallagher (4), Pacioretty/Plekanec (3)
Points: Pacioretty (7), Gallagher (6)
PIMS: Weise (12), Beaulieu/Galchenyuk (5)


Goals: 6 tied with (1)
Assists: Lucic (3), Eriksson/Hamilton/Krejci/Kelly (2)
Points: Eriksson/Lucic (3), Hamilton/Krejci/Kelly (2)
PIMS: Lucic (14), Campbell (10), Marchand (8)

Special Teams


Montreal: 28.6% PP (4/14), 75.0% PK (6/8)
Boston: 25.0% PP (2/8), 71.4% PK (10/14)

Regular Season:

(Stats are as of games played through March 23rd.)

Montreal: 15.9% PP (33/207, 26th overall), 84.6% PK (192/227, 7th overall)
Boston: 18.1% PP (34/188, 17th overall), 81.5% PK (181/222, 14th overall)

Both teams rank in the bottom ten in power play opportunities and even in their head-to-head matchups, there weren’t a lot of penalties called (Montreal averaged 3.5 PP’s per game, Boston 2.0 per game). Considering how anemic Montreal’s power play is, more time at 5-on-5 is probably a good thing although the two teams have a near-identical number of 5-on-5 goals (132-131 for Boston).


Head-to-Head this season:

Carey Price (MTL): 4-0-0 record, 1.50 GAA, .950 SV%, 1 SO

Tuukka Rask (BOS): 0-3-0 record, 3.29 GAA, .886 SV%, 1 SO
Niklas Svedberg (BOS): 0-1-0 record, 4.15 GAA, .861 SV%, 0 SO

Head-to-Head All-Time:

(Regular Season Stats only)

Carey Price (MTL): 21-8-3 record, 2.38 GAA, .923 SV%, 1 SO
Dustin Tokarski (MTL): 1-0-0 record, 1.00 GAA, .971 SV%, 0 SO

Tuukka Rask (BOS): 3-13-3 record, 2.73 GAA, .905 SV%, 1 SO
Niklas Svedberg (BOS): 0-1-0 record, 4.15 GAA, .861 SV%, 0 SO

2013-14 Playoffs:

Carey Price (MTL): 4-2-1 record, 2.05 GAA, .936 SV%, 1 SO

Tuukka Rask (BOS): 3-3-1 record, 2.59 GAA, .903 SV%, 1 SO

For whatever reason, the Habs seem to have Rask’s number. The Boston netminder has at most five losses against every other NHL opponent in the regular season but against the Canadiens, he has nearly three times that. In general, Rask isn’t having the best of seasons altogether but he has shown in the past that he can win the Bruins games on his own if he has to.

As for Price, while his numbers would suggest that he plays quite well against Boston, they’re not much different than his career totals (.05 GAA lower, .03 SV% higher). That all said, with the way Price has played this year, Montreal certainly has the edge between the pipes.


Boston Montreal
Chara – McQuaid
Seidenberg – Krug
Bartkowski – Trotman
Scratches: None
Injuries: Hamilton, Miller
Markov – Subban
Gilbert – Petry
Emelin – Pateryn
Scratches: Beaulieu, Gonchar, Weaver

(Gilbert is currently injured but is expected to be back well before the postseason.)

For the most part, it’s a pair of two distinct styles on the blueline. Boston has more size and physicality while the Canadiens have moved more towards mobility over anything else.

While Montreal’s team speed has caused fits for the Bruins this season, those have been in one-game sample sizes. Over the course of a seven game series, will that speed cause even more trouble or will Boston’s toughness make more of an impact as the games progress? We saw last year how the Bruins’ physical play made its mark in the next series.

The Habs’ defence corps is built to move the puck quickly but it lacks the prototypical crease clearer that would really be helpful against the likes of Lucic and company. While a few of their blueliners can play physical, they certainly won’t have as much of an impact in that regard as Boston’s defencemen will to Montreal’s attackers.

Zdeno Chara is the big wildcard. When he’s on, he can still have a huge impact on the game. Last postseason and for good chunks of this year though, he hasn’t. If he can return to his old form, I’d give Boston’s blueline the slight edge, assuming Dougie Hamilton is ready to play come the postseason (he’s listed as out indefinitely). Chara suddenly finding his Norris-calibre game again doesn’t seem too likely to happen so I’d give the Habs the advantage here.


Boston Montreal
Marchand – Bergeron – Krejci
Lucic – Spooner – Pastrnak
Eriksson – Soderberg – Smith
Campbell – Kelly – Talbot
Scratches: Connolly, Ferlin, Paille
Injured: Savard
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Parenteau
Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gallagher
de la Rose – Eller – Smith-Pelly
Prust – Mitchell – Weise
Scratches: Flynn, Malhotra
Injured: None

A strength of both teams is the ability to roll four lines and in a series as intense as this likely would be, that’s really going to be a benefit. There are also holes in the top six for both squads; neither team is particularly proficient in terms of scoring and the Bruins have a couple of question marks in their top six while the Habs have some very hot-and-cold players in that spot.

I don’t really see a distinct advantage for either side up front. Both teams have good depth but have their weaknesses as well. There’s no real edge for either team in terms of the forwards.

Final Thought

With the Bruins in freefall at the moment, they’ll need to go on a bit of a run to make the postseason. If they get hot at the right time, they can certainly be dangerous. That said, this is probably one of the more desirable matchups for Montreal given the recent success they’ve had against them and the fact that for some reason, the Canadiens give the Bruins fits. There’s no doubt there would be a greater physical toll if this was to be the first round matchup but I’d expect the Habs to make it through a series against Boston and move on to the next round.