Coming off a four-day break, the Bruins return to the TD Garden ice for the first time since their 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday when they welcome the Montreal Canadiens — who downed the Philadelphia Flyers last night at the Bell Centre just an hour after firing assistant coach Perry Pearn — tonight.
Not only will this be the first game since the epic encounter in the first round of last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, but this will also be the first time that Zdeno Chara and Max Pacioretty reunite since Pacioretty’s 2010-11 campaign ended in with a controversial hit from Chara (insert 911 jokes here).
Puck Drop: 7 p.m.
TV: NESN; Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub
2010-11 series: Habs 4-2
Expected goalie matchup: Tim Thomas vs. Carey Price
What to watch for (Bruins)
Perhaps this is exactly what the doctor ordered.
In a midst of an early season slump, the Bruins finally get to renew the rivalry with the struggling Habs, who are playing the second game of a back-to-back. But while the Black and Gold finally get a matchup with their archrivals, they’ll still have to produce.
Early on, the Bruins have been a little out of sync and have been a step behind for the most part with the exceptions of their wins against Tampa, Chicago and Toronto. Because of this, head coach Claude Julien has had to make some line changes. For some, like Milan Lucic (this week’s Bruins Daily player of the week), Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin, the results have been good so far. But others, like Benoit Pouliot, David Krejci and Rich Peverley, they’ll have to contribute a little more.
After missing the last four games with a head/neck injury, defenseman Adam McQuaid is symptom free according to Julien and could suit up for the Black and Gold for the first time since the team traveled to Carolina several weeks ago.
What to watch for (Canadiens)
In a game with several events happening before and after — from Pearn’s firing to Price finally getting career win No. 100 — the Habs traveled overnight to Beantown and will look to generate a little momentum after one of their worse starts in quite awhile.
Tonight’s game could potentially be a night full of emotions for Pacioretty, who obviously reunites his own acquaintances with Chara, which dates back to last January even with the shove after an overtime win in Montreal. On the other hand, Pacioretty, who scored twice against Philly Wednesday, has stated that he has put last year’s hit behind him after sustaining a fractured vertebrae as a result.
More importantly in Montreal, though, head coach Jacques Martin has been under scrutiny due to the slow start. Although last night’s win helped ease things for a day, there is still more pressure for him to get out of this early hole and get on the winning track. Otherwise, Martin’s tenure with the Habs might come to an early end.
Gameday links (Bruins)
Joe Haggerty of Comcast SportsNet New England has more on McQuaid’s status.
Chara avoided questions regarding Pacioretty yesterday according to James Murphy of ESPN Boston
Days of Y’Orr has their always entertaining preview of tonight’s game.
Gameday links (Habs)
Arpon Basu from NHL.com recaps last nights victory in Montreal.
Legendary Montreal Gazette Habs writer Pat Hickey explains why Pearn was the scapegoat for the Habs early season problems.