Bruins-Canadiens. A rivalry that dates back several decades.
The next chapter begins Saturday night as a banged up Bruins squad carries a six-game win streak over their hated rivals. Yet the intensity of late hasn’t remotely resembled the many iconic moments the rivalry has seen. That could all change Saturday with a mere two points separating them.
It may not have the historical impact like too many men in ’79 or Nathan Horton’s Game 7 overtime clincher in 2011, but the Bruins and Claude Julien’s surprising Canadiens bunch should provide some entertaining hockey on Causeway Street.
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen-David Krejci-Jake DeBrusk
Ryan Donato-Joakim Nordstrom-Anders Bjork
Anders Bjork-Sean Kuraly-Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk-John Moore
Steven Kampfer-Jeremy Lauzon
Canadiens projected lines
Tomas Tatar-Phillip Danault-Brendan Gallagher
Jonathan Drouin-Max Domi-Artturi Lehkonen
Paul Byron-Jesperi Kotkaniemi-Joel Armia
Charles Hudon-Matthew Peca-Nicolas Deslauriers
Jordie Benn-Jeff Petry
Mike Reilly-Karl Alzner
Xavier Ouellet-Victor Mete
Tuukka Rask gets the start for the first Bruins-Canadiens matchup. (Angela Spagna/Bruins Daily)
– Say what you want about Julien’s handling of young guys, but his message got across to David Pastrnak. The fifth-year forward is blossoming into a bonafide elite goal scorer and his former coach is not surprised with his development.
“He’s become the real deal,” Julien told reporters Friday at Warrior Ice Arena (via The Boston Globe). “He can shoot the puck a ton, and he’s got a winger and a center that find him, just like with Ovi [Washington’s Alex Ovechkin]. But he can skate and create his own goals.”
Pastrnak sits atop the league lead in goals with Auston Matthews (10) entering Saturday’s matchup. His shooting percentage of 24.4 percent ranks him ninth among skaters that have 10 or more games under their belt this year.
– The ongoing goaltending rotation continues as Tuukka Rask hopes to get his fifth straight win against the Canadiens. The Finn is coming off his best performance in a 38-save outing against the Senators Tuesday night in Ottawa but is still looking to rattle off some consistent performances. Though he wouldn’t tip his hat into tabbing Halak (3-0-2, 1.49 GAA, .933 SV%, 2 SO) as the team’s No. 1 goalie, Cassidy certainly won’t be shy to make a move if the journeyman netminder continues his string of recent performances.
“It could, absolutely. We do that at the start of the year for – we’ve done it here for years and just to work Tuukka’s starts in because he’s been the number one,” Cassidy said following Boston’s 3-0 shutout win over the Flyers Thursday.
“But if Jaro’s [Jaroslav Halak] able to push him and if and eventually take the job if and when that happens then we’ll look at that. We’re going to try to keep it as balanced as possible early on, and then like we said if one separates himself from the other like every other position here then we’ll allow that to evolve.”
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