NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 20th (All times eastern)
Boston Bruins (34-32-5) at Montreal Canadiens (36-31-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to boost their playoff hopes tonight, when they welcome the Boston Bruins to the Bell Centre for the opener of a home-and-home series.
The Canadiens have 78 points and are locked into a tight battle for the last postseason berth in the Eastern Conference. Carolina currently holds the eighth and final seed with 80 points, while Montreal, Toronto and the New York Islanders are in a three-way tie for ninth.
Montreal has won three of its last four games and is coming off Saturday's important victory over the visiting Maple Leafs. Saku Koivu and Andrei Kostitsyn scored in the shootout, and Jaroslav Halak made 37 saves as the Habs edged their bitter rivals, 3-2.
Kostitsyn and Koivu also scored in regulation for the Canadiens, who are a solid 21-12-3 as the host club this season. Montreal has won four straight contests at the Bell Centre.
Montreal center Radek Bonk missed his third straight game Saturday with an illness, but is expected to return for this evening's tilt. Bonk has 12 goals and nine assists this season.
Boston is coming into this evening's test on a very sour note, having dropped a 7-0 decision in New York City on Saturday. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 30 shots for his fourth shutout of the season and Sean Avery had a goal and three assists to lead the Rangers to the blowout win at Madison Square Garden.
Goaltender Tim Thomas was pulled after giving up three early goals for the Bruins, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Andy McDonald then stopped just seven-of-11 shots before Thomas, who wound up making 25 saves, returned to finish the game.
Despite Saturday's shellacking in the Big Apple, the Bruins have won six of their last nine road contests. Boston is a subpar 16-17-2 as the visiting club this year.
Boston's playoff chances are fading away, as the club has 73 points and is tied with Florida for 12th place in the conference.
Boston has a 3-2 edge in the season series with the Habs this year, but Montreal has taken seven of 10 and nine of the last 13 overall meetings between the teams. The Bruins have also been defeated in five of their last six trips to Montreal.
03/20 10:29:38 ET