In each of the first three meetings, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens battled for first place in the Northeast Division. Well, things aren’t changing for the fourth and final matchup of the 2013 National Hockey League regular season as the two teams once again battle for tops in the Northeast for the last time.
The Bruins (52 points) come in winners of three straight, including Thursday’s 1-0 win over the New Jersey Devils. Jaromir Jagr scored the only goal in his Boston debut, while Tuukka Rask made 40 saves en route to his third shutout of the season.
The Habs (53 points) are fresh off a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets and are 6-3-1 in their last 10. Carey Price will likely get the start, although one has to wonder if Peter Budaj will make an appearance too. The veteran backup led the Canadiens to their two victories over the Black and Gold, including last week’s 6-5 shootout win where he relieved Price during the third period.
In the first meeting at the Bell Centre, the Bruins took a 2-1 victory behind third period goals by David Krejci and Tyler Seguin after coach Claude Julien shuffled the lines for the last 20 minutes. Will the B’s bench boss use a similar tactic if they fall behind in this pivotal showdown? We’ll find out tonight and perhaps you’ll find out with us during the Bruins-Habs viewing party at The Harp with fellow bloggers Days Of Y’Orr and Boston Sports Then & Now.
Gametime: 7 p.m.
Location: Bell Centre
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins (24-8-4, 52 points), Habs (24-8-5, 53 points)
Bruins’ projected lineup
Both lineups subject to change
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Jaromir Jagr-Tyler Seguin-Brad Marchand
Jay Pandolfo-Rich Peverley-Kaspars Daugavins
Daniel-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg-Andrew Ference
Matt Bartkowski-Johnny Boychuk
Habs’ projected lineup
Michael Ryder-Tomas Plekanec-Brian Gionta
Alex Galchenyuk-Lars Eller-Brandon Prust
David Desharnais-Brendan Gallagher-Max Pacioretty
Travis Moen-Jeff Halpren-Ryan White
Andrei Markov-Alexi Emelin
Josh Gorges-P.K. Subban
Francis Bouillon-Davis Drewskie
Bruins to watch
After scoring in his Black and Gold debut, let’s keep an eye again on Jagr, shall we? Even at the age of 41, there’s a first time for everything and tonight Jagr (15 goals, 12 assists) will get his first taste of the Bruins-Habs rivalry.
While many fans in The Hub of Hockey are pretty excited for another chapter tonight, Jagr isn’t going to let the emotions get the best of him.
“I don’t like to be too high or too low. I don’t think it’s going to help my game,” he said after Friday’s practice in Wilmington. “I just want to control myself out there and control my game.
“But you can’t do that for everybody,” Jagr added with a chuckle. “Some guys like it and some guys don’t like it.”
While Jagr is donning the spoked B for the first time in this storied rivalry, Rask will get another chance against the Habs and his career numbers in 12 career matchups (11 starts) aren’t very good to say the least. The Finnish netminder is just 2-7-2 versus Montreal with a .898 save percentage and a 2.92 goals against average. But in the only meeting at the Bell Centre, Tuukka made 20 stops to guide the B’s to their only win against the Canadiens this year. A similar result might indeed put the Bruins, who have a game in hand on the Habs, back in first place by the end of the night.
Habs to watch
Michael Ryder has gotten the best of his former squad – in his second stint with Les Habitants – in the last two meetings. The ex-Bruin has two goals and an assist against his former team and he’s really given the Canadiens’ offense a real shot in the arm since being acquired by the Dallas Stars via trade back on Feb. 26. In 17 games with the Habs, Ryder is averaging a point per game (nine goals, eight assists) and he’ll look to continue that streak tonight.
The Carl Soderberg watch is heating up as his Swedish Elite League team was eliminated from their postseason today (Sarah Connors/Stanley Cup of Chowder).
After being acquired by the Bruins at the trade deadline, Wade Redden “expects to fit right in” after practicing for the first time with his new team yesterday (Joe McDonald/ESPN Boston).
Sam Pollock of SB Nation’s Eyes On The Prize writes about the Habs fleecing the Bruins from a historical perspective.
Tweets of interest
Kirk Luedeke, NHL Prospects guru and a good friend of Bruins Daily, has a pic of Jaromir Jagr from the The Hockey News’ 1990 Draft Preview.
Here’s Jaromir Jagr’s entry in the 1990 THN Draft Preview…23 years later. twitter.com/kluedeke29/sta…
— Kirk Luedeke (@kluedeke29) April 6, 2013
And another reminder to join us at The Harp tonight!
— Bruins Daily (@BruinsDaily) April 6, 2013