Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins

“Game of the Night” is a feature that takes a daily look at the best game on the NHL schedule, and sets it up for you. So y’know, you should probably watch the game below. This is brought to you by the Werner Ladder Company (check out their hockey vid here), because how else do you think the bulbs in the red goal light get changed?

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Who:

Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins

Records:

Boston Bruins: 21-7-3 (last 10: 6-4-0), 2nd in East, 45 points (31 games)

Montreal Canadiens: 20-6-5 (last 10: 7-2-1), 4th in East, 45 points (32 games)

Justification:

I’m a little tired of including the Habs in these, but hey, IT’S THE BATTLE FOR FIRST IN THE NORTHEAST, catch the fever.

Head-to-head:

Both teams have beat the other by a goal, in their opponent’s barn. This is their third matchup, with a four set for early April.

Puck drop: 7:30 p.m. EST

Need to know:

* Winner gets first in the Northeast OMG. While Boston gets the visual #2-seed, they’ve yet to have more points than the Montreal Canadiens at any point of the 2013 season, which is kind of crazy.

* The Canadiens have given up three goals in their last two games! …and have lost both in regulation. They’ve only scored once.

* Milan Lucic may have crawled out of the doghouse. He was bumped off the top line against the Leafs the other day, but ended up scoring his first, a beauty, in 16 contests.

Player stats: 

bshabsstats

Injuries (via NHL.com):

Canadiens forwards Rene Bourque (concussion) and Brandon Prust (shoulder), and defensemanRaphael Diaz (concussion) are out. … Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid (shoulder) could be out closer to six weeks than to the original prognosis of 3-4. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk (foot) is day-to-day.

Goaltenders:

Boston Bruins: Tuukka Rask (confirmed)

Daily FaceoffRask allowed two goals on 25 shots in a 3-2 shootout win over the Maple Leafs on Monday. Rask has been all the Bruins could have hoped for in his first season as a starter. He is 15-4-3 with 1.90 GAA and .928 SV%.

Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price (unconfirmed)

What I’m looking forward to:

I was surprised yesterday to watch the Habs hang with the Penguins as well as they did. The score only ended up 1-0, and it was as close as it sounds – a hard fought game where both teams got their chances and either could’ve won. Obviously this is a tough stretch for the Habs, so I was (and kind of will be) looking for weakness when they go against the best teams in the league. I don’t doubt they can plow through some first round team, but I’m interested in seeing how they look against the best, a category in which I’d include Boston.

As the season wears on, things tighten up, and what was once a game of exchanged opportunities becomes a game of “team who cashes in most on their few chances wins.” I expect to see first year players struggle down the stretch, and here we are: Galchenyuk has two points in his last 14 games, and Brendan Gallagher has five points in his last 10 (which isn’t a huge decline, but still). Interested to see if these two can hang when the going gets tough.

Prediction:

Unfortunately for the Canadiens, I think the Bruins are built for later-in-the-season hockey, and with the game in Boston, I’m thinking the Bruins grab two points tonight.

Game of the Night prediction record:

7-5-0