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Bruins, Canadiens Battle for Northeast

The Bruins take on Montreal tonight with first place in the division on the line.

Wednesday, 03.27.2013 / 3:43 PM ET / Features
By Eric Russo  - BostonBruins.com
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Bruins, Canadiens Battle for Northeast
The Boston-Montreal rivalry is at full strength, with both teams tied atop the Northeast Division with just over a month to go in the regular season.

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BOSTON, MA – The rivalry is back at full strength. After a bit of a dip in the Boston-Montreal feud last season, things seems to be back to normal with both teams tied atop the Northeast Division with just over a month to go in the regular season.

The teams have split a game apiece this season, with each club winning on the other’s home ice. The Bruins came away as 2-1 winners at the Bell Centre on February 6, and Montreal came back for a 4-3 victory in a heated contest at TD Garden on March 3, that included numerous scuffles and two fights.

The Canadiens scored two third-period goals to erase a 3-2 Bruins lead and broke a tie for first place in the division. The same will happen for the winner of tonight’s contest.

A lot of emotions and hype come with playing against Montreal, and it can lead to a team getting away from its game. As a result, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien says that staying composed and not taking penalties is key when facing Montreal.

“It’s pretty simple,” said Julien, when asked how his team stays focused on playing hockey. “Bottom line is, you’ve got to stay out of the penalty box. They’ve got a good power play, we have to play a certain way, but we’ve got to play within the rules.

“If you’re a physical team, you’ve got to be physical, but you can’t be stupid with the types of hits you’re giving, and do it cleanly. If you do that then you’re sticking to your game plan because we expect our team to be a physical team every night that we play, whether it happens or not.

“But we expect our team to be disciplined. At the end of the night, that’s what you hope has happened.”

The Bruins are aware of the importance of tonight’s game and are ready for the challenge with first place in the Northeast Division on the line.

“We know it's a big game,” said Patrice Bergeron following morning skate. “Every game has been a big game, especially when you play out east every time. We know it's teams that are battling with you for a playoff spot, and right now we know it's for first place.

“It's a huge game tonight, and Montreal is a team that never stops, never quits. We know it's going to be a 60-minute effort we're going to need tonight. It's going to be a tough game again.”

Bergeron said the mixture of the Canadiens’ offensive skill, both up front and on the back end is the focus for the Bruins tonight. The Black & Gold will have to try to limit Montreal’s opportunities and play a hard, physical game.

“It's a team that has a lot of speed up front and a lot of talent,” said the B’s alternte captain. “But also defensively, I think they have some good offensive defensemen that will get some good outlet passes in the D-zone. We have to make sure we put some pressure on them and cause some turnovers.

“We're a team that works hard but also is pretty big on the puck. If we're first on pucks and if we're on our toes, usually we'll get some results like that. That's what we need tonight.” 

Milan Lucic, who broke a 15-game scoreless streak on Monday night against Toronto, said he is expecting the most out of both clubs tonight.

“We're definitely both at different points in the season in where our team games are at,” Lucic said this morning. “I think this is going to bring the best out of both teams and out of everybody as individuals. We're looking forward to it tonight.” 

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
2 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
3 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
4 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
5 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
6 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
7 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
8 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 73 21 31 2 52
L. Eriksson 73 19 23 0 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
M. Lucic 73 15 25 10 40
B. Marchand 69 22 17 6 39
C. Soderberg 74 11 27 8 38
R. Smith 73 12 25 8 37
T. Krug 70 12 23 12 35
D. Krejci 39 7 21 7 28
C. Kelly 72 7 20 8 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .919 2.30
T. Rask 29 19 12 .921 2.34
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