- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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RENEWED: This is the second of four games between the Bruins and Canadiens this season. Montreal defeated Boston, 2-1, on Dec. 5 at Bell Centre in Montreal. The Bruins controlled the majority of that game, but the Canadiens scored two unanswered goals in the second period en route to victory. Tonight will be the 723rd all-time meeting between the teams and the Bruins have a 270-341-103-8 record against the Canadiens. Boston is 0-3-1 in its last four games against Montreal.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE LATELY: The Bruins are 5-0-1 in their last six games and 6-1-1 in the last eight. Boston is 12-2-0 in its last 14 games on home ice. Until a 3-0 win Tuesday over the Carolina Hurricanes, the Canadiens had lost four straight, and five of the last six games.
MASKED MEN: Despite a 2-9-2 record in 13 career games against the Canadiens, it appears Tuukka Rask will start for the Bruins. Overall, he’s 24-12-3 with a 2.07 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage. He’s 3-1-1 in his last five starts. He’s leading the league with five shutouts. At the other end of the ice, Montreal is surprisingly going with backup Peter Budaj, who is 5-4-1 with a 2.06 and .921 in 13 games this season. It’s an interesting move by Canadiens coach Michel Therrien since starter Carey Price is 17-8-3 in 28 career games against Boston. Budaj is 3-1-0 in five career games against the Bruins.
LINE TWEAK: Bruins coach Claude Julien said he wanted to ease Chris Kelly back into the lineup. The veteran forward returned to game action Tuesday night after missing 22 games due to a broken right fibula. Against the Florida Panthers, Kelly centered Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton for the first two periods, but Julien had Kelly back on the third line with Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg for the third period. During Thursday’s morning skate, Kelly was centering the fourth line.