NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, March 27th
(All times Eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (20-7-5) at Boston Bruins (21-7-3), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens remain pleased with their effort
over the last two games despite back-to-back losses in regulation.
Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien, meanwhile, is worried about his club's
fatigue despite rallying for a victory last time out.
The long-time rivals meet for the third time this season on Wednesday night,
with first place in the Northeast Division at stake in Boston.
The Bruins and Canadiens both have 45 points on the season, with Boston
holding the tiebreaker due to a game in hand. The Bruins also have one more
victory than the Habs, which they picked up Monday versus the visiting Toronto
Montreal had a chance to come into this meeting ahead of Boston in the
standings, but dropped a 1-0 decision at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday
night. It marked the first time this season that the Canadiens have lost
consecutive games in regulation.
The Habs and Bruins have split their two earlier meetings this season as
Boston extended its series winning streak to five straight with a 2-1 victory
in Montreal on Feb. 6 before the Canadiens countered with a 4-3 triumph in
Boston on March 3.
The pair of one-goal decisions didn't come as much as a surprise as seven of
the past eight encounters have all been decided by that margin. The Canadiens
will host the Bruins on April 6 to conclude the regular-season series.
Both of Montreal's recent setbacks have also been decided by the lowest
possible difference as it followed up a 2-1 home loss to the Buffalo Sabres on
Saturday with last night's defeat to Pittsburgh. The Canadiens had been 14-1-4
in their previous 19 prior to the consecutive setbacks.
"We've got to take the positives out of it," said Canadiens goaltender Carey
Price following the loss to the Pens. "If we keep playing the way we are,
we're not going to lose that many games like that. We've just got to stick to
Price made 24 saves on Tuesday night, yielding the lone goal of the game to
Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby with 6:41 left in the second period. The
Pittsburgh center took a stretch pass and beat Price on the top left.
"I thought we played pretty well, that's the disappointing part," said Price.
"Obviously he's the best player in the world and about five millimeters was
the difference in the game tonight."
Montreal will now try to avoid matching its longest losing streak of the
season, an 0-2-1 span from Feb. 6-9 that began with the home loss to Boston.
The Bruins welcome the Habs to town after splitting a home-and-home series
with the Maple Leafs. They dropped the road portion of the set on Saturday
3-2, failing to rally after giving up the game's first three goals.
Boston then fell behind 2-0 at home to Toronto on Monday, but got a second-
period tally from Milan Lucic before Patrice Bergeron tied the game with 9:24
to play in the third.
Tyler Seguin and Bergeron then scored shootout goals, while Tuukka Rask
stopped 2-of-3 in the tiebreaker after posting 23 saves through overtime.
"To me, it was a gutsy effort," Julien said. "Not a pretty effort, but a gutsy
one. Until they scored their second goal, we really weren't that good. I don't
think the will and desire is not there more than I think we're a little heavy
right now in our play. We've lost some speed and everything else that comes
with it. So it's a gutsy effort anyway from our part that after they scored
their second goal, we got ourselves going."
After opting not to hold a pregame skate on Monday morning, Julien also
decided to give his players off on Tuesday as well.
Julien hopes that will have his players energized tonight as they try to pick
up a sixth straight victory at home, a streak that began following the loss to
the Habs on March 3.
03/27 10:54:30 ET