Monday, March 24, 2014
W2W4: Bruins-Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. ET
By Joe McDonald
The Boston Bruins (49-17-5, 103 points) will host the Montreal Canadiens (39-26-7, 85 points) Monday night (7:30) at TD Garden. Here’s what to watch for:
PLAYOFF PREVIEW? After Monday’s game, it’s possible the next time these teams face off will be in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Bruins are atop the Eastern Conference and Montreal is ranked fourth in the standings. The Bruins can say all they want about this game being only about two points, but having a two-game winning streak against their storied rival would be a confidence booster if the teams meet in the postseason. Prior to their 4-1 win on March 12 at Bell Centre, the Bruins were 0-4-1 in their previous five games against the Canadiens. Boston is 6-4-1 in its last 11 games versus Montreal, with a 4-3-1 record against the Canadiens in the last eight games at TD Garden.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE LATELY: Just in case you’ve been living under a Zamboni, the Bruins are in the midst of a 12-game winning streak, which is their longest since a 13-game streak from Feb. 23 to March 20, 1971. The franchise record is 14 straight wins (1929-30). Boston is 15-1-2 in its last 18 games and 20-2-3 in the last 25. The Bruins are 28-7-2 on TD Garden ice. The Canadiens are 5-5 in their last 10 games, including wins in four of their last five games. Montreal is 19-14-2 on the road this season and has a 12-7-4 mark against Northeast Division opponents.
MASKED MEN: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask will get the start against the Habs. He’s 3-10-2 lifetime against Montreal, with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage. Rask has yet to beat Montreal at TD Garden (0-5-2 record). Overall this season, he’s 32-14-4, including six shutouts, a 2.07 GAA and a .929 SP. He has won his last seven games and is 11-3-2 in his last 16 starts. Montreal coach Michel Therrien announced Monday morning that backup goalie Peter Budaj will start against the Bruins. He has a 4-2-0 career record against the Bruins, including one shutout with a 2.63 GAA and a .911 SP. Budaj made 34 saves to help Montreal to a 4-1 win against the Bruins at TD Garden on Jan. 30. Overall, he’s 8-8-2 with a 2.50 GAA and a .907 SP in 21 games this season.
GETTING IGGY WITH IT: Bruins forward Jarome Iginla was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week. The veteran posted five goals last week, including a pair of two-goal games. Iginla has 28 goals and 30 assists for 58 points in 71 games this season. Iginla needs only two goals to reach his contract scoring incentive. He has 558 career goals and is two goals shy of Guy Lafleur for 24th place on the NHL’s all-time goals list.