(Sports Network) - The Boston Bruins-Montreal Canadiens rivalry could pick up
some more steam if the clubs can maintain their current positions atop the
Northeast Division throughout the shortened season.
The Original Six clubs meet for the first time in 2013 as the reigning
division-champion Bruins visit the Habs.
The Bruins and Canadiens have been battling in spirited contests since 1924,
squaring off in the regular season 717 times in addition to countless playoff
encounters. A healthy number of those meetings have been of the feisty nature
and that trend is likely to continue this season given the abbreviated
Boston sits tied with Ottawa atop the Northeast Division with 13 points, one
ahead of Montreal. Wednesday will be the first of four meetings between the
clubs after the Bruins took the final four of six encounters in 2011-12.
Prior to Boston's current series winning streak, Montreal had won 11 of 14
against its rival. However, the Canadiens have followed up five straight home
wins over the Bruins with back-to-back setbacks at the Bell Centre.
The Bruins avoided their first losing streak of the season by rebounding from
last Thursday's 7-4 defeat against Buffalo -- their first regulation loss of
the season -- with a tight 1-0 win at Toronto on Saturday.
Tuukka Rask was blasted for six goals on 31 shots in losing to the Sabres, but
notched a 21-save performance versus the Maple Leafs to post his 12th career
shutout and push Boston's record to 6-1-1.
"We just cleaned up our defensive game," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien.
"We had enough shots on net. Their goaltender played really well. We had our
chances and at the same time we had to kill a lot of penalties. Our penalty
killers did a good job, but it was more about cleaning up our defensive game.
I thought we were extremely sloppy against Buffalo."
Boston got all the scoring it needed in the first period on Chris Bourque's
second career NHL goal and first since Dec. 30, 2008 with the Washington
Bourque, the son of legendary Bruins defenseman Ray, was a healthy scratch
"I knew I had the capability of doing it, it's just going out there and
proving it," said the younger Bourque. "I had a couple chances here and there
in the first six games, but tonight I wanted to really bear down when I got
the chance and it ended up in the back of the net."
The former second-round pick found his way back into the lineup after Daniel
Paille took a stick to the face against Toronto. Paille did not travel to
Montreal, but forward Brad Marchand did after exiting the win over the Leafs
early due to an undisclosed injury.
The Canadiens were sparked by a healthy return of their own on Sunday in a 2-1
victory over Ottawa, with forward Max Pacioretty returning to game action just
eight days after an emergency appendectomy that was slated to sideline him for
3-to-4 weeks. He assisted on David Desharnais' game-tying tally in the first
period, a score that came just 35 seconds after the Senators had taken a 1-0
"The coach made the right decision," said Pacioretty. "Actually the decision
was made (Saturday) night after I told the coach that I was ready. Maybe mine
was more magnified because I had surgery. But everyone plays through injuries
all the time."
Erik Cole also scored and Carey Price made 32 saves for the Habs, who have won
two straight and six of their first eight games this season.
Defenseman P.K. Subban notched his second assist in as many games since ending
his holdout last Monday by agreeing to a two-year deal.
The Sports Network