The red hot Boston Bruins could very well tie a franchise record Monday night at the TD Garden. The storyline is set up perfectly for a chance at history, too.
Boston’s hated rivals from Montreal come to town for the last time this regular season. The Canadiens are also playing well as of late winning four of their last five and trail the Tampa Bay Lightning by one point for second place in the Atlantic Division standings.
With the Habs playing their first of a back to back, Peter Budaj will get the start over Carey Price. The Montreal backup has started the last two games against the Black and Gold going 1-1. Budaj’s win snapped the Bruins’ four game winning streak back at the end of January, while his loss occurred in the middle of the B’s recent 12-game stretch a couple of weeks ago.
The Habs would like nothing more than to snap that streak. The Bruins would love to extend it to 13 and have a chance to make history Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks in the first meeting on Causeway Street since Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Despite all the storylines, both teams are treating it like a late regular season contest.
“The players know how it works around here,” head coach Claude Julien said after the morning skate. “It’s all about focusing on the next game that we’re about to play. There hasn’t been any streak talk at all.
“It’s a different sweater that’s up against us tonight. That’s how it should be looked upon.”
Whether Claude is downplaying this or not is anyones guess, but, from Patrice Bergeron to Jarome Iginla and the other 21 skaters, that sentiment is echoed in the Bruins locker room.
In the visiting dressing room, the Habs know they have a chance to build on their momentum with a victory against their arch-rivals late in the regular season, with or without their star netminder. From Thomas Vanek to PK Subban and Max Pacioretty, the speedy Canadiens have given the Bruins fits over the last six games of the rivalry, but they’d like nothing more than a meaningful victory in Boston.
Strangely enough, one of the Habs was rooting for the B’s to comeback against the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday night, which they did exactly that.
“We’re glad they came back to beat Phoenix,” said Dale Weise. “We want to be the ones to knock them off.”
Not to forget, these two teams could very well meet during the postseason.
“This is a potential playoff matchup, said Weise. “So we want to put a little doubt in their mind that we’re a hard team to play against.”
“It’s important,” added head coach Michel Therrien. “I think its important for the Bruins and its important for us to try to pick up those two points, and we need to make sure we play the right way in order for us to get a chance to win.”
Throughout the last two weeks, Boston media scribes have posted on a potential worry that the Bruins are peaking too early. That sentiment was started by Milan Lucic after the B’s 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes last Saturday.
Rather than worry about a potential collapse, however, the Bruins, in midst of this hot streak, are more concerned about improving their game as things inch forward towards the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“I think the best way [to enter the playoffs] would be to keep getting better and to keep playing really well,” said Iginla, who was named the NHL’s third star of the week on Monday. “As far as the streak, we’re just trying to enjoy it. We have different things that we’re working on and we still go over stuff and we’re hungry.”
Staying hungry is the best thing going forward for the Black and Gold.