Despite Bruins coach Claude Julien’s contention that Montreal is just “a different sweater,” that doesn’t seem to be how the Canadiens are looking at Monday’s game.
They’re well aware that the Bruins are coming in on a 12-game winning streak. And they know what they’d like to do about that.
“We were checking the score the other night against Phoenix, Phoenix is up going into the third period. We were kind of hoping Boston would come back to win so we would get the chance to knock them off,” Canadiens right wing Dale Weise said.
“Boston-Montreal is a big rivalry, and for us this is a potential playoff matchup down the road, so we want to put a little doubt in their mind that we’re a hard team to play against.”
The Bruins will have Tuukka Rask in net, and the Canadiens will go with Peter Budaj. That was the same matchup on March 12 when the Bruins ended their five-game losing streak to Montreal with a 4-1 win. That was a boost for Rask, who has not had good career numbers against Montreal. With that game, Rask is 3-10 lifetime with a career .906 save percentage and 2.75 goals against average in 16 games.
The Bruins’ hottest player, Jarome Iginla, got a nod today from the NHL and was named the third star of the week for a week in which he had five goals, including two games with two goals each against the Wild and Coyotes. The right wing already has 11 goals and three assists in March, putting him into the team lead with 28 goals this season.
The Bruins are going into this game not focusing on the winning streak. They’re trying not to think about it or talk about it. As Julien said, “Those are things that next year, nobody will remember. We try to take care of other things than the streak. Right now it’s about our game. It’s about day-to-day. That’s not an issue.”
But for the Canadiens, who clearly would like to put the streak to an end, they’ve been impressed with what the Bruins have done, and especially when they’ve done it.
“The thing that I’m impressed with that is it’s at this time of year,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. “It’s something to [be] capable to put [together] a streak like that, whether in November, Decemeber, but at this time of the year all teams are battling really hard to make it to make it the playoffs, and I’m really impressed about the way they play.”
Game time: 7:30 p.m.
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Network/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 49-17-5, Canadiens 39-26-7