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NHL on NBCSN: Bruins-Canadiens tangle in Montreal on Rivalry Night

Mar 12, 2014, 9:28 AM EDT

Brad Marchand, P.K. Subban Getty Images

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Montreal Canadiens host the Boston Bruins at Bell Centre at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The Boston Bruins have rolled through the Eastern Conference this season, but one team they’ve yet to figure out are their historic rivals, the Montreal Canadiens.

The Habs have won both meetings this season and five in a row going back to last year. Playing hockey isn’t easy, and while wins have been plentiful for the B’s, you’d better believe their rivals getting the best of them sticks in their collective craws.

The Bruins come into tonight’s game on a five-game winning streak that has seen their offense dominate. They have 21 goals over that span and even came away with a shootout victory against Tampa Bay last Saturday.

Jarome Iginla has been on fire lately with three goals and two assists during the win streak. He cracked the 20-goal barrier for the 15th time in his career and has 49 points this season. Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two helpers against Florida on Sunday and Boston has nine players in double-figures in goals with Brad Marchand leading the way with 21.

When you factor all of that in with the tremendous defense led by Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask‘s stellar goaltending, it makes for a more-than formidable lineup. These things bother not the Habs, however.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $3,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday night’s NHL games. It’s just $25 to join and first prize is $800. Starts Wednesday at 7:30pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Montreal geared up for what could turn out to be an eventual playoff battle with the Bruins by acquiring Thomas Vanek from the New York Islanders. Vanek has scored 30 of his 271 career goals against Boston, the most against any opponent. His years with the Buffalo Sabres helped make that possible, but it’s built him a résumé that attracted the Habs.

The Habs offense is a funky brand of attack that’s led from the back end by P.K. Subban and up front by Max Pacioretty. Subban’s 45 points are tops on the team, but it’s Pacioretty and his 30 goals that will make him a focus of Boston’s defense. Alex Galchenyuk‘s return from injury as well as Vanek’s arrival have given a lift to Montreal’s offense, although lately times have been tougher.

Montreal comes into the game having lost three of the past four games and Carey Price‘s absence due to injury hasn’t helped. Instead, Peter Budaj and Dustin Tokarski have had to take the reins to make sure they don’t slip too far back into a muddled Eastern Conference playoff race.

If Montreal comes away with a win tonight they’ll jump over the Toronto Maple Leafs into second place behind Boston. The Bruins aren’t in real danger of losing their Atlantic Division lead, but if they can help keep the Habs down and turn their fortune against their hated rivals, they’ll be more than happy to do it on their turf.

  1. jcmeyer10 - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Perfect way to end an evening of scotch drinking.

  2. bigbadbruins77 - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    I’m excited for this one!! Go bruins woo!

  3. drewsylvania - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    This should be a tough one for the Bruins.

  4. terrier92 - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    Best rivalry in NHL Canadians are always tough and come to play While I respect them I hate them to my core. Sad comment on my life but I watch their scores nightly and sleep well when they lose. Hope Bruins see them in playoffs as well nothing better than a Habs Bruins series. I have seen some classics over the years and have experienced both heartache and joy. Thank you Tim Thomas for 2011 Cup it exorcised the pain of 1979 Allowed me to move on lol Go Bruins

    • gallyhatch - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:19 PM

      As a Bruins fan, the Canadiens are the last matchup I want in the playoffs. . . . Sure, it would be exciting, but I think Montreal has the best chance out of any other team in the East to eliminate the Bruins, so I’m really hoping another team can get the matchup with the Canadiens, and at least beat them up a little if not eliminate them.

      I’m with you on the Montreal hatred though Terrier, I hate the Canadiens more than the Yankees, it’s the best rivalry in sports. (do people remember how close the Bruins were to getting eliminated in the 1st round in 2011? How about Ryder’s glove save when Thomas was caught out of the crease? ? ? Holy crap that was an exciting game 7, arguably better than game 7 against TB which a lot of people refer to as the perfect game, the most exciting game etc. . . )

      Can’t wait for tongiht, I hope the Bruins can figure out Montreal, but with the addition of Vanek, I’m not holding my breath.

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