As always, there is a great deal of anticipation when the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens faceoff at the Bell Centre or TD Garden. But with both teams getting off to a quick start to the shortened 2013 National Hockey League season, the intensity level of the rivalry has gone up a level.
Either way, it is always good when both teams are doing well. And there should be plenty of fireworks on display when the two teams renew acquaintances for the first time in nearly a year Wednesday night up in Montreal.
Coming off their win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night, the Bruins will look to make it two in a row. For the second straight game, however, they will be without the likes of Daniel Paille (upper-body), Shawn Thornton (concussion) and Brad Marchand (undisclosed). Lane MacDermid and Jamie Tardif will take Paille and Thornton’s spot in the lineup and Ryan Spooner – called up from Providence on an emergency basis – could be inserted into the lineup if Marchand is unable to suit up.
The Canadiens, meanwhile are winners of two straight, including Sunday’s controversial 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Bruins villain Max Pacioretty scored a goal in his first game back after an appendectomy, while Carey Price benefited from a goaltender interference call – that would have resulted in a tying goal for Ottawa – and made 31 saves in the victory.
Lineups, storylines, linkage and tweets of interest after the jump
Gametime: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Bell Centre
T.V./Radio: NBC Sports Network/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins (6-1-1, 13 points), Canadiens (6-2-0, 12 points)
Bruins’ projected lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Patrice Bergeron-Gregory Campbell-Tyler Seguin
Chris Bourque-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Lane MacDermid-Ryan Spooner-Jamie Tardif
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Habs’ projected lines
Brian Gionta-Tomas Plekanec-Rene Bourque
Erik Cole-David Desharnais-Max Pacioretty
Brendan Gallagher-Alex Galchenyuk-Brandon Prust
Colby Armstrong-Lars Eller-Travis Moen
Francis Bouillon-PK Subban
Andrei Markov-Alexei Emelin
Josh Gorges-Raphael Diaz
Bruins to watch
Coming off a shutout of Toronto, Tuukka Rask will look to continue his impressive start when he makes his eighth start of the season Wednesday night. The Finnish netminder, however, has struggled in his career against the archrivals going 1-6-1 with a 2.76 goals against average and a .908 save percentage. On paper, that is a mismatch compared to Price’s career against the Bruins (15-7-3, 2.54 GAA, .918 SV%), but nonetheless it should be an exciting battle tonight between these two young goalies.
After scoring his first goal of the season against Toronto Saturday, Chris Bourque will look to keep his momentum going. Perhaps the healthy scratch against Buffalo was just what the doctor ordered as he played a very physical and solid contest. This could help motivate his linemates, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, as they look to contribute a little more on the scoresheet.
With Gregory Campbell moved to the fourth line, it will be interesting to see how Spooner fares with his fellow P-Bruins linemates, MacDermid and Tardif. Spooner and Tardif were the leading scorers in Providence before being called up, but being paired with an enforcer might throw some chemistry off a little bit.
Habs to watch
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the early season has been the play of defenseman Andrei Markov. After being hampered by injuries the last few years, the Russian blue-liner is making a big impact as he leads the team in goals with four and is tied with Raphael Diaz with eight points. For a guy who has had his share of knee problems, Markov is making each of his 25 minutes of ice time per game meaningful.
Of course it goes without saying that PK Subban will also be one to watch. Boston’s favorite hockey villain (definitely debatable, but still worth noting) tallied two assists in his first two games back since signing his new 2-year, $5 million contract last week. With the Bruins having their share of injuries, look for Subban and Francis Bouillion to shadow Boston’s top line all night.
Days of Y’Orr shows us the greatest Dennis Seidenberg Bruins’ jersey, ever.
ESPN Boston’s Joe McDonald on the Bruins-Habs rivalry renewing on a high note.
CSN New England Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty says that the B’s are noticing an increase in goaltender interference throughout the league.
It looks like the Bruins-Habs rivalry has also hit the bloggosphere as Habs blog Eyes on the Prize files a grievance with SB Nation over Boston’s Stanley Cup of Chowder.
Ian McLaren of The Hockey Writers explains the no-goal call that helped Montreal on Sunday.
Tweets of interest
Bruins media relation guru Matt Chmura has an Instagram of a trash bin installed in front of Andrew Ference’s locker at the Bell Centre. Maybe this will bring extra motivation to “Captain Planet” for Wednesday night
Andy Ference joked with me today that someone put this in our dressing room to mess with his head.… instagr.am/p/VW9GWug6mO/
— Matthew Chmura (@mchmura) February 5, 2013
And we’ll end the preview with Eyes On The Prize. Enough said…
— Eyes on the Prize (@HabsEOTP) February 6, 2013