One of hockey’s biggest rivalries returns to Causeway Street for the first time this season when the Bruins take on the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden Thursday night at 7 p.m. The Bruins lost a close 2-1 battle with the Habs during their last meeting back in December at Bell Centre in Montreal. This time around the Bruins look to extend their four-game win streak and impressive offensive success to further pull away from the Canadiens in the Atlantic Division.
The Canadiens are currently in fourth place in the division and stand 10 points behind the B’s, but have dropped four of their last five games. In the last two weeks they have fallen well out of the playoff comfort zone losing their nine point lead over their Canadian foes, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Trade rumors have been swirling around the organization, including a potential trade with the Avalanche that would exchange Rene Bourque for P.A. Parenteau. The future of head coach Michel Therrien is also in question right now after just one and a half seasons back in Montreal.
On the other side of the ice, the Bruins offense has proven unstoppable. The B’s have scored six goals in their last three straight games with contributions from all four lines and Zdeno Chara who tallied his 500th career point Monday against the Islanders and his 100th goal as a Bruin in last night’s game against the Panthers.
The focus at the beginning of the week was all on the Bruins second line, consisting of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith, all of whom were on six-game point streaks going in to last night’s matchup. However, it was the first line that racked up seven points and three goals last night with Jarome Iginla and David Krejci both registering two assists with Krejci tacking on a goal and Milan Lucic putting two goals past former teammateTim Thomas.
The Bruins/Habs rivalry is as ferocious in the minds of Bostonians as the Red Sox/Yankees, Celtics/Lakers and the old Patriots/Jets rivalries. The Bruins and Canadiens have met 888 times with Montreal leading the series 448-337-103. The Canadiens put up even more impressive numbers in the postseason beating the Bruins 24 out of 33 postseason meetings knocking the Bruins out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs nearly every time they made a playoff run in the 50s, 60s and 80s.
However, since 1988 the Bruins have won 7 out of 11 playoff series against the Habs including the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs where the Bruins knocked the Canadiens out in the first round in double overtime of Game 7. The Bruins would go on to win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972.
Even with the Bruins on a dominant winning streak and the Canadiens ending the month of January in a downward spiral, this game is far from being decided already. History has proven that just about anything can happen when these two teams take the ice together.