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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, February 9th (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (30-19-5) at Boston Bruins (30-16-7), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of old rivals will battle for the Northeast Division lead tonight, when the Boston Bruins host the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

The Bruins have 67 points and are leading Montreal by two for the top spot in the Northeast, but the Canadiens have yet to lose to the Bruins this season.

Montreal has taken all three encounters with the B's this year and has won five straight, eight of nine and 20 of the last 26 encounters in the regular season. The Bruins have also lost four in a row and nine of their last 12 home tests in the series.

The Habs were riding a three-game winning streak before losing Sunday evening against the visiting New Jersey Devils. Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice and Johan Hedberg made 14 saves in place of an injured Martin Brodeur to help the notch the 4-1 victory at the Bell Centre.

Carey Price allowed three goals on 29 shots for the Canadiens and P.K. Subban scored Montreal's lone goal.

The Canadiens failed to score on their only opportunity with the man advantage on Sunday and Montreal is 0-for-22 on the power play over its last five games.

"I think we're creating a lot of opportunities on the power play," Subban recently told his team's official web site. "Every game we get a lot of opportunities to score, but we're either hitting a post or the puck is in the crease and just isn't going in. We just have to continue doing what we're doing and bring the energy."

Montreal is 3-for-10 on the power play against Boston this season.

The Canadiens hope the return of James Wisniewski can help their sagging power play tonight, as the offensive-minded defenseman is set to come back after missing the last two games with an illness.

Wisniewski has 34 points (5 goals, 29 assists) in 47 games this season. He has two goals and 11 assists in 15 games since coming to Montreal in a trade with the New York Islanders.

The Bruins last played on Saturday and were handed a shutout loss by the visiting San Jose Sharks. The 2-0 defeat marked the fifth time Boston was blanked this season and it was the second time the B's have been shut out in the last five games.

Tim Thomas was the hard-luck loser with 16 saves for the Bruins, who, like Montreal, had a three-game winning streak snapped

"They won more battles for the puck than we did and that's where I thought the game was decided," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I don't think we played a bad game. We need to get better along the boards."

Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron is expected to play tonight after getting hit in the chin with a puck at Tuesday's practice. Bergeron is leading Boston with 44 points this year and is second on the team with 19 goals.

Price and Thomas are expected to get the starts in net for the Habs and B's respectively. Price earned the win in each of the three meetings so far this season and has a 1.97 goals-against average in those outings. Thomas is 0-1-1 with a 3.43 GAA against the Canadiens this year.

Montreal is 12-12-1 as the visiting team this season, while the Bruins are 14-10-3 as the host.

02/09 10:41:03 ET


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