Pregame Notebook: B's Host Habs
Boston (14-2-2) hosts Montreal (13-4-4) in rivalry dual at TD Garden
Only 11 Bruins hit the ice, and ran through drills with assistant coaches Doug Houda, Doug Jarvis and Geoff Ward. On the ice were: Rich Peverley, Gregory Campbell, Adam McQuaid, Shawn Thornton, Chris Bourque, Aaron Johnson, Jay Pandolfo, Nathan Horton, Lane MacDermid and Tuukka Rask.
Given the way Coach Julien had managed his goalie rotation so far this season, I can expect to see Tuukka between the pipes tonight, after Anton Khudobin made Saturday night’s start.
As far as the roster goes, Coach said during his pregame press conference that he would “decide tonight who’s going to be in the lineup.”
“We moved guys around and we’re still, as you want to put it, team tough,” Coach told media. “There’s other guys that can step up, as you saw yesterday. Those are things, like I said, in the tight schedule, you’re probably going to see more and more as we moved forward here.”
“I think it’s important to have that kind of flexibility. Yesterday, we put Jay [Pandolfo] in there, and it was a good thing we had him in there because with all the penalties that we had, we needed some penalty killers, and Jay’s a great penalty killer. We had an extra guy there to help us out.”
Match-Up: Boston (14-2-2) vs Montreal (13-4-4)
Last time around, the B’s and Habs were in a battle for the top of the standings - and this time, the same proves true, as both teams have 30 points in the standings. Both are also battling back-to-backs, as Montreal’s point came in a 7-6 OT loss in Pittsburgh last night.
“I think we knew it was a big weekend for us playing some big teams, but we also know that every game is important,” Patrice Bergeron said during pregame media availability. “Starting on the right foot yesterday was key, and now we’re looking forward to playing Montreal. You look at the standings and we’re tied, so it’s definitely going to be a big battle tonight.”
Ryder Back in Town
Former Bruin Michael Ryder, who last played at TD Garden during Game 6 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, returns to Boston tonight, wearing bleu, blanc et rouge in his second stint with the Habs, after being traded from the Dallas Stars last week. Ryder joins one of three Canadiens who have previously played for Boston, with the other two being Tomas Kaberle and Petteri Nokelainen.
"I was a little bit shocked," said Gregory Campbell of Ryder returning to Montreal. "I have a lot of respect for Ryds, he’s a really good player, he comes through in the important games and I think he’s underrated. I mean he scored 30 last year, so as underrated as you can be when you score 30, but I really like him as a player and so he’s going to help their team a lot."
The Canadiens are 7-0-3 over their last 10 games, but are 2-0-3 over their last five.
After 50 overall penalty minutes in last night's tilt with Tampa - 28 of them called on the B's - Boston will be looking to stay out of the box tonight, especially against a potent Habs' power play.
"Well, Montreal’s got a pretty good power play too so we’ve got to try to stay out of the box but at the same time I don’t think we can bring down our physicality in the game," Rich Peverley told media Saturday night. "We’ve got to play physical, that’s how we play."
Here are the special teams match-ups:
Boston: 9-for-59 on the PP (15.3%, 22nd in NHL), 68-for74 on the PK (91.9%, 1st in the NHL)
Montreal: 18-for-95 on the PP (18.9, 11th), 69-for-84 on the PK (82.1, tied for 13th)