Mar 27, 2013, 8:04 AM EST
Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Montreal Canadiens will head to TD Garden for a match against the Boston Bruins at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The Bruins and Canadiens have spent the better part of the season battling for the Northeast Division title and that battle is far from resolved. Going into tonight’s contest, the two teams are tied with 45 points, although Montreal has played in one more game than Boston.
Both of these teams have gotten this far thanks to solid defense, strong goaltending, and an offensive core that’s shown its depth this season.
The fact that Boston is in this race isn’t much of a surprise. There was some concern that goaltender Tuukka Rask might not be able to seamlessly assume Tim Thomas‘ starting duties, but after serving as a strong backup for years, Rask’s 2013 performance can’t be considered a shock.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
Instead, the Canadiens are the Cinderella story. They’ve benefited from the emergence of rookies Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher, but when the season started, their core wasn’t dramatically different than the one that finished in the basement of the Eastern Conference in 2011-12.
Perhaps the biggest difference has been behind the bench, where Michel Therrien is now running the show. Under him, the Canadiens have gone from one of the worst power-play teams in the NHL to one of the best. Of course, having a finally healthy Andrei Markov join P.K. Subban as the team’s top two blueliners with the man advantage helps too.
Not many teams in the league can afford to take penalties against the Canadiens, but if there’s one that can endure, it’s Boston. The Bruins have a league-leading 91.7 penalty killing percentage.
These two teams have played each other twice this season and both contests were decided by a goal. It wouldn’t be surprising if tonight’s game ended up being just as close.
Probable goaltenders: BOS – Rask (15-4-3, 1.90 GAA, .928 SV%) | MON – Peter Budaj (4-1-1, 2.47 GAA, .903 SV%)
Boston – Forwards: Chris Kelly (leg), Marc Savard (concussion) Defenseman: Adam McQuaid (shoulder), Johnny Boychuk (foot)
Montreal – Forwards: Brandon Prust (shoulder), Ryan White (lower body), Rene Bourque (concussion) Defenseman: Yannick Weber (knee), Raphael Diaz (concussion)
Dec 4, 2013, 11:55 PM EST
He notched a career-high four points Wednesday.
Dec 4, 2013, 11:29 PM EST
Head coach Patrick Roy hasn’t been happy with his work.
Dec 4, 2013, 11:03 PM EST
Detroit sees end of four-game winning streak.
Dec 4, 2013, 10:42 PM EST
Joining his Buffalo teammate Nikita Zadorov.
Dec 4, 2013, 10:16 PM EST
Montreal gets seventh win in eight games.
Dec 4, 2013, 9:24 PM EST
Dec 4, 2013, 9:05 PM EST
A handsome salary.
Dec 4, 2013, 8:30 PM EST
Rare good injury news for the Red Wings.
Dec 4, 2013, 7:12 PM EST
That’s almost $15 million in cap hits on the shelf.
Dec 4, 2013, 6:42 PM EST
Martin Marincin, Corey Potter and Anton Lander get called up.
Dec 4, 2013, 5:20 PM EST
“You’ve got to look at it: Who are your assets?”
Dec 4, 2013, 5:09 PM EST
Hard lines, Team Finland.
Dec 4, 2013, 4:37 PM EST
Tough blow for the reigning Vezina winner.
Dec 4, 2013, 4:14 PM EST
And as a bonus, their names rhyme.
Dec 4, 2013, 3:33 PM EST
Neither he nor Michal Handzus will suit up in Minnesota.
Dec 4, 2013, 3:07 PM EST
He’s missed the last three games.
Dec 4, 2013, 2:46 PM EST
That picture was not taken today.
Dec 4, 2013, 1:46 PM EST
With a special shout-out to Austria’s 1927 European championship team.
Dec 4, 2013, 1:39 PM EST
“Frankly, in my mind we’re playing him too much.”
Dec 4, 2013, 1:25 PM EST
He was a late scratch for Tuesday’s loss to Columbus.
- Flyers’ Couturier: ‘We’re starting to believe in ourselves’ 0
- Columbus puts Bobrovsky (groin) on IR, out 4-5 weeks 1
- The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Olympic odds, Russia’s defense, King Henrik’s new deal, Fire Cappy? and more 27
- With Lundqvist deal done, Sather faces tough questions 11
- King of New York: Rangers sign Lundqvist to seven-year, $59.5 million extension 39
- Lehtonen shines, Roussel agitates as Stars beat ‘Hawks 52
- Report: NHL set to finally pay Gretzky at least $7M 15
- Kadri out as falling Leafs start tough stretch vs. Sharks 9
- Wounded Wings: Zetterberg (back) out, joins Datsyuk on shelf 7
- Burrows out with broken jaw (Update: expected to miss at least four weeks) 22
- Video: Canucks’ Bieksa fights Rangers’ Boyle, then kicks Boyle’s helmet (52)
- Lehtonen shines, Roussel agitates as Stars beat ‘Hawks (52)
- King of New York: Rangers sign Lundqvist to seven-year, $59.5 million extension (39)
- Panthers announced attendance Tuesday night lowest since 2008 (37)
- Islanders embarrassed in fifth consecutive loss (33)