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Bruins always expect best from Canadiens

12/19/2011

BOSTON -- The rivalry between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens never disappoints.

The pair of Original Six teams will face off for the fourth of six regular-season games Monday night at TD Garden with the Canadiens holding a 1-2-0 advantage over the Bruins this season. While Boston (43 points) sits atop the Eastern Conference in a first-place tie with the Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal maintains the final spot in the Northeast Division with 33 points.

The Canadiens fired coach Jacques Martin on Saturday morning, replacing him with Randy Cunneyworth, and then lost to the New Jersey Devils that night in Montreal.

Despite the league standings and the recent coaching change for the Canadiens, the Bruins are well aware that this won’t be an easy game, especially with the way Montreal has played against Boston this season.

“It’s hard to put a finger on it,” Patrice Bergeron said. “It’s a team that never stops competing and battling and has a lot of speed. They seem to have our number.

“We’re looking forward to playing them. It’s always fun and exciting and a good rivalry against them. These guys are obviously going to try to prove themselves to the new coach. We’re expecting a big game from them, like always, and it’s going to be hard.”

Bruins coach Claude Julien is not sure what his lineup will look like Monday night since he’s waiting to hear whether or not Gregory Campbell (fractured left foot), Rich Peverley (lower body) and Milan Lucic (possible suspension) will be able to play.

Lucic had a hearing with the league this morning but has not heard the final verdict. The Bruins’ forward was ejected from Saturday’s 6-0 victory over the Flyers after he hit Philadelphia’s Zac Rinaldo from behind during the second period. [Update: The NHL announced later in the day Monday that Lucic was suspended for one game. Click HERE to read more.]

“Our lineup is probably one that is probably the most uncertain so far this year,” explained Julien. “We have a lot of different things. It’s going to be real hard for me this morning to say this guy’s in, or this guy’s out.”

The Bruins held an optional skate Monday morning and it appears that Tim Thomas will get the nod between the pipes against the Canadiens. Thomas posted his 30th career shutout, and fourth of the season, on Saturday against the Flyers. He’s 12-1-0 in his last 13 games.

The Bruins recalled forward Jordan Caron and defenseman Steven Kampfer from Providence on Monday in case reinforcements are needed.

No matter who is in the lineup for either team, the rivalry that never disappoints should be another heated battle Monday night.

“It’s a big game and it’s always a big game when you play a division rival,” Peverley said. “Obviously they’re a pretty skilled team and they play a high-paced game. It’s going to be a good game, as usual.”