After dropping both games in a home-and-home series to their longtime rival Montreal Canadiens to end the month of October, the Bruins went on a run that nobody saw coming. Nearly a month later the Bruins ride into Montreal winners of their last eight and have not lost a hockey game since their last visit to Montreal.
With a win at the Bell Centre tonight, the Bruins will be in a three-way-tie with the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs for first place in the Northeast division. The Bruins have multiple games in hand with the Maple Leafs and Sabres.
Puck Drop: 7:30 p.m.
TV: NESN Radio: 100.7 WZLX (Patriots are being aired on 98.5 The Sports Hub)
2011-12 Season Series: Canadiens 2-0
Expected Goalies: Tim Thomas vs. Carey Price
What to watch for Bruins:
Chris Kelly has been a huge asset to the Bruins since coming to Boston from Ottawa at last year’s trade deadline, but Kelly is currently playing some of his best hockey as a Bruin. The gritty forward has 13 points (7 goals) on the year including six points in his last four games after lighting the lamp twice in Saturday’s win over the Islanders. Not bad for a third line guy.
The one down spot on the Bruins during their eight game win streak has been the work of their penalty kill. The B’s have allowed at least one power play tally in four of their last five games. The Bruins currently have the 10th ranked penalty kill unit.
After missing last month’s home-and-home series Beniot Pouliot finally faces his former team. Pouliot has gotten off to a disappointing start thus far with the Bruins. The former first round draft pick has just two points (both goals) and has bounced around from the game day lineup, to the press boxes. It will be interesting to see how Pouliot plays in the building he used to call home.
What to watch for Canadiens:
The Canadiens have had trouble putting the puck in the net all season long, Max Pacioretty has not. Pacioretty has been one of, if not the best Canadiens forward all season long. The Connecticut native leads the team with nine goals, and his 17 total points sits just three points behind the team leader Tomas Plekanec.
As has been the case over the past few seasons, the Habs have taken a beaten on the injury front to their defensemen. Guys like Yannick Weber, Frederic St-Denis, Alexei Emelin, and Raphael Diaz are logging big minutes on the Habs blue-line. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Bruins attack a young inexperienced Canadiens blue-line tonight.
After a slow start to his first month in Montreal, Erik Cole has bounced back with a nice run here in November. Cole has eight points (4 goals) in eight games this month. Cole was Montreal’s big off-season signing and the move has paid off well for Montreal. Cole is a special player is becoming more dangerous as he grows chemistry with line-mates Pacioretty, and David Desharnais. Watch one Carolina Hurricanes game and you’ll see how much Eric Staal misses Cole.
Bruins gameday links:
Claude Julien, chemistry master? (Daysofyorr.com)
Months after Stanley Cup Finals, Bieksa, Recchi still throwing jabs. (NESN.com)
Joe Haggerty of CSNNE talks about Nathan Horton coming back to life for Bruins.
Canadiens gameday links:
Hot Bruins return to Montreal (Stu Hackel/ Hockeyinsideout.com)
Scott Gomez taking possible demotion like a pro. (Pat Hickey/montrealgazette.com)