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Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Bruins, Habs battle for top spot in Northeast

Feb 6, 2013, 7:57 AM EDT

Montreal vs Boston Getty Images

Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Boston Bruins will head to the Bell Centre for a match against the Montreal Canadiens at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Boston and Montreal had some serious question marks heading into this season, but also plenty of promise and so far the latter has won out. Both of these teams have been fantastic through eight games.

For Boston, the big story has been goaltender Tuukka Rask, who has flawlessly transitioned into the number one gig after Tim Thomas’ decision to take a season off. Perhaps the most encouraging thing about Rask is how he responded to surrendering six goals on 31 shots against Buffalo on Thursday. Rather than letting it get to him, he came right back with a 21-save shutout over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

Montreal has also gotten great goaltending out of Carey Price, but that alone hasn’t led the Canadiens to a 6-2-0 start. One of the big differences for Montreal this season has been the rise of rookie forwards Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher. The duo has combined to record four goals and 12 points. Their addition has gives Montreal a lot of different offensive weapons and makes them a threat to score at all times.

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The return of 34-year-old defenseman Andrei Markov, who played in just 65 games over the previous three seasons due to injuries, has also been huge for Montreal. He’s finally healthy and already has re-established himself as one of the league’s best offensive defenseman, especially with the man advantage.

The Boston Bruins will counter with the depth that they’ve been known for over the last few years. If anything they’re looking stronger this season now that Nathan Horton is healthy after missing roughly half of the 2011-12 campaign with a concussion. They also have a thriving rookie of their own in 19-year-old blueliner Dougie Hamilton.

Just a point separates these two squads early in the battle for the Northeast Division as both teams look to build off of their strong starts.

Probable goaltenders: MON – Price (6-1-0, 1.70 GAA, .938 SV%) | BOS – Rask (5-1-1, 2.10 GAA, .919 SV%)

Top scorers: MON – Markov and Raphael Diaz are tied with eight points in eight games. | BOS – David Krejci (2-5-7, 8 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Montreal – Forwards: Petteri Nokelainen (back)
Boston – Forwards: Brad Marchand (shoulder), Daniel Paille (eye), Shawn Thornton (concussion), Marc Savard (concussion)

  1. raleik - Feb 6, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    Two things… First, it’s gonna be hard for Lindback to start for Boston considering he isn’t on the team. Second, do we really need to list Savard as a notable injury? I think it’s pretty clear by now he’s never going to play again.

    • psousa1 - Feb 6, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      I thought the same thing when I saw Savard’s name. Technically he is on the roster. He had to show up for the past two training camps, flunk his physical (so he still gets paid)and go home.

      What a damn shame. Great talent. He knew where everyone was on the ice at any given time. Imagine the severity of his head injury that has kept him out over 2 years? Hopefully the guy has a decent quality of life.

  2. anthonydavis2013 - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    As much as I hate Brad Marchand he made the game much more interesting when the bruins play the Habs. Still excited to see these two meet.

    • govtminion - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:53 AM

      It sounds like you may get your wish- a couple of Bruins sites are reporting that he’ll likely play, with only Paille and Thornton being out. I certainly wouldn’t mind having one of our top people on the ice, obviously!

      • anthonydavis2013 - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:59 AM

        I just hope he and Subban have an “epic” fight like they did last time lol Seriously though nothing is worse then Marchand scoring, and I am sure Bruins feel the same about PK. It makes it that much more fun to have both these antagonizing players on the ice. Also I haven’t watched a Bruins game yet, but Dougie will be fun to watch especially if him and Alex Galchenyuk are facing off all night.

      • kmacle - Feb 6, 2013 at 11:14 AM

        I especially liked the delay-of-game penalties the second or third time they attempted to square off. Even the officials wouldn’t take them seriously.

      • govtminion - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:53 PM

        Never mind- Marchand out for tonight. Sad panda.

  3. ironyisadeadscene - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Always an intense game to watch. Who will Subban antagonize tonight? Who will he turtle against when challenged? Lots of questions

    • anthonydavis2013 - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:55 AM

      As a Habs fan and a fan of Subban I always find these comments amusing haha Mainly because they are true for the most part.

      • ironyisadeadscene - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:43 PM

        Don’t get me wrong, the guy is a very talented hockey player….just don’t dig the antics. Marchand’s either.

      • anthonydavis2013 - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        Meh, at least they aren’t headhunters like some players who get sad about loosing. Neither team id dirty, they play standard old school hockey and I love when they square off. You see they clearly hate each other, but the respect is there. It is just good hockey when they play. Some people go too deep into it with the Chara hit on Max, which was clearly not an intent to injure. Just like the whole Miller thing, I still think Lucic was in the clear. . . goalie should of stayed in the net. It was like then Habs played Montreal and Borque tapped Anderson when he was in the line of play for a goalie interference. With that logic goalies can just skate up the ice and score without being touched. Anyway dumb rant haha but yeah still pumped.

    • sabatimus - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      Answer to both question: everyone and anyone.

    • gallyhatch - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:58 PM

      @ ironyisadeadscene

      D.E.P reference? If so, good work, awesome album. If not good, good work anyway.

      • gallyhatch - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:59 PM

        “If not, good work anyway”

      • ironyisadeadscene - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        You sir, are correct

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Feb 6, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      Not sure what bothers me most. Turtling or Rinaldoing.

  4. sabatimus - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    What’s this? An actual rivalry on Rivalry Night?

    • mpg44 - Feb 6, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Yup, but they won’t talk about one of the other huge rivalries on this site so I will have to post here. The devils BEAT thier beloved rangers!!! But there will be no article about that game or the Sunday game where the devils shutout the other New York team ….. See a pattern here , NBC-PHT sucks at hockey coverage . So it is not a surprise that this is the first REAL rivalry on rivalry night!!

      • colonelfancy - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        Last week was the Minnesota Wild vs the Chicago Blackhawks… Uh yeah, a litle more than twenty years ago when they were a part of the same division, but today? No, the Wild have a lot of ground to cover to reach that level of hatred for younger fans. Perhaps the only positive was that a wider audience gets a chance to see the Wild and Mikko Koivu, one of the most underrated two-way forwards in the game.
        If more matchups like this one tonight occur on a weekly basis, than that would be just gravy. T

  5. zetaone - Feb 6, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Hurray, another game I can’t watch on my PAID Game Center Live subscription because it’s nationally televised/blacked out. I can’t wait until the television dinosaur goes extinct, then it’ll all just be internet.

    • desertfan - Feb 6, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      You can watch it on NBC????

      • zetaone - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:12 PM

        I don’t have a television subscription. Nothing but garbage on it. Waste of money, that’s why I have GCL.

  6. mclovinhockey - Feb 6, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Can’t wait to watch it!! Yeah it’s a shame what happened to savard, he was amazing, he was a bit of a diver (I think even cherry said so which is crazy cause he always favours the B’s) but still such a great playmaker

  7. dolanster - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Hey Habsman, here’s a wager. We kick your ass and you STFU until St. Patrick’s Day — you win and I do the same. How’s that for a bet?

    • govtminion - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      Wouldn’t that just be giving the troll the attention he wants? You’re better than that.

    • habsman - Feb 6, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      I’m hurt and disappointed that you wouldn’t want to enjoy my insightful posts. I have feelings you know.

      As for you, feel free to “STFU” until St Paddy’s day, and every day there after.

      This should be an easy game for the Bruins tonight based on all the comments from their fan base over the past few months.

  8. buffalomafia - Feb 6, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    I hope Suban gets his ass kicked!

  9. dolanster - Feb 6, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Easy enough. Great game from Tuukka. Nice to have a Canadiens team that’s out of the cellar and contending anyway.

  10. thecheeman - Feb 7, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Anyone think NBC actually did a great job with the pregame show for Rivalry Night? Touching on the long history, but focussing strongly on the rivalry in recent years. They showed Lucic screaming at the Habs bench like 10 times. I’m not a fan of either team but was getting excited with the setup.

    Long Live Rivalry Wednesdays. It’s not Monday Night Football or Hockey Night in Canada, but if they do this right I can see the Wednesday hockey game and the pregame show becoming more than a blip on the consciousness of Americans.

    Great job NBC.

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