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B's, Habs to Battle for First Place...Again

With a win on Saturday night, the Bruins can take over the top spot in the Northeast Division

Friday, 04.5.2013 / 4:19 PM ET / Features
By Eric Russo  - BostonBruins.com
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B\'s, Habs to Battle for First Place...Again

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WILMINGTON, MA – Saturday night’s showdown between the Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens is the fourth – and final – meeting of the season. As were the three previous match-ups this season, the game will be a battle for first place in the Northeast Division, with the Bruins having a chance to take over the top spot with a win.

Currently, the Black & Gold trail the Canadiens by one point in the standings (Montreal has 53 to the Bruins’ 52). All three games the teams have played this season have been decided by one goal, with Montreal winning the last two games, both in Boston, by overcoming third period deficits in each, to win 4-3 and 6-5. The B’s won the season’s first match-up in Montreal, 2-1.

With both teams charging towards the playoffs and a Northeast Division championship, the rivalry is at it’s most intense level. But, B’s Head Coach Claude Julien says no matter what the situation is when these two team face off, it’s always action-packed.

“I don't think it is any different,” said Julien, when asked if the team’s battling for first place changes the rivalry. “I think, to me, it's been exciting every game we've played – we’ve played for the top spot. It's no different tomorrow, so it's going to be a good game.”

The Boston-Montreal feud will have a bit of a different look on Saturday night at Bell Centre. B’s Newcomers Jaromir Jagr, Kaspars Daugavins, and Wade Redden will be getting their first taste of the age-old rivalry.

The B’s newest defenseman, Wade Redden, knows Saturday's game will be intense, whether he's in the lineup with his new team or not.

“I've watched it for years,” he said. “It's two top teams in the division right now, battling it out. So it's a lot on the line. It just adds to the whole tradition that's there already.”

"You don't get any bigger rivalry, that's for sure."

Jagr, who scored in his Bruins’ debut on Thursday night at TD Garden en route to the 1-0 shutout of the Devils, knows the gravity of what is on the line in tomorrow night’s game.

“Every game is going to be like a playoff game,” said Jagr following practice Friday morning at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. “We found that out [Thursday against New Jersey]. Every point is so important, it's even more important for team's that are fighting for the playoffs for the eighth or seventh spot.

“For us, we want to try to be in first place, so it's going to be a huge game. You want to get ready for the playoffs with games like that.”

Daugavins has been the closest of the three Bruins’ newcomers to the rivalry, having played with another division rival, the Ottawa Senators, for the past few seasons. The ‘Daug Man,’ as his teammates refer to him, saw Montreal’s 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night, and knows how difficult the Habs are to play against.

“Every game against teams in the Original Six are always tough,” said Daugavins. “I saw the game last night that they played, it's a battle for every inch of the ice. It's going to be hard, but obviously we can do it.”

Johnny Boychuk, a veteran member of the Boston-Montreal rivalry, talked about the aura around these games and believes, with first place on the line, there will be some added buzz.

“It will definitely put some fuel there,” said Boychuk on the battle for first place. “They're a really good team in first place right now. It's a challenge for us and it's going to be a good game.

“It's always a good game, no matter if you're in Boston or Montreal. We both play extremely hard against each other and it's always a good game. Every time we are in Montreal or Boston, the fans are always as loud as they can be, so it's a fun game to be in.”

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
2 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
3 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
4 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
5 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
6 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
7 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
8 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 52 19 26 8 45
L. Eriksson 52 16 24 11 40
D. Krejci 42 12 27 2 39
R. Spooner 52 11 27 -5 38
B. Marchand 47 24 12 12 36
Z. Chara 50 7 20 8 27
M. Beleskey 50 8 17 10 25
T. Krug 51 3 21 6 24
J. Hayes 50 11 12 -5 23
B. Connolly 49 7 9 -5 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 19 15 5 .918 2.47
J. Gustavsson 9 3 1 .915 2.38
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