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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

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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 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 81 23 32 2 55
L. Eriksson 81 22 25 1 47
M. Lucic 81 18 26 13 44
C. Soderberg 82 13 31 10 44
B. Marchand 77 24 18 5 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
R. Smith 81 13 27 7 40
T. Krug 78 12 27 13 39
D. Krejci 47 7 24 7 31
C. Kelly 80 7 21 6 28
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 34 21 13 .922 2.30
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .918 2.33
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