Game Preview - Bruins v Canadiens

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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, January 13, 2018
Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec  Attendance: 21,302

Bruins, Canadiens shake off rust to resume rivalry

Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens

  1. Boston dropped a 6-5 overtime decision in Pittsburgh last Sunday night, recording at least one point in its 11th straight contest (8-0-3 record) -- the second-longest streak in the league this season (Vegas had a 13-gamer). The Bruins have potted at least five goals 10 times in 2017-18 (third most in the East).
  2. Montreal defeated Vancouver, 5-2, at home last Sunday night, winning its second straight tilt since a five-game losing streak, December 23-January 2. The Canadiens had 45 shots on goal against the Canucks -- the third time of the campaign that that've had 45+ SOG (tied for fifth most in hockey).
  3. The B's and Habs have yet to meet this season, but will face off against each other three times in the next week (also Wednesday night in Boston and next Saturday night at Bell Centre). These clubs have split their last eight matches, each skating off with four wins.
  4. Brad Marchand had a goal and a helper last Sunday night, giving him three straight multi-point games for the first time of the season (2g, 6a in those games). Marchand has just four points (1g, 3a) in his last 12 skates against the Canadiens.
  5. Brendan Gallagher had a goal and a helper last Sunday night, earning first-star honors, and giving him a team-high 16 markers on the year overall. Gallagher has one goal (zero assists) in his last five skates against the Bruins.
  6. Boston has three skaters (Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron) with 16 or more goals in 2017-18 -- tied with Dallas and Vegas for second most in the league (Tampa Bay -- 4).

Fatigue won't be an issue when the Boston Bruins play the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday.

The Bruins (23-10-7) and the Canadiens (18-20-4) are playing their first games after their league-mandated five-day break.

This is the first meeting since Claude Julien was fired as Bruins coach last February and took over the Canadiens after the Habs fired Michel Therrien on Feb. 14.

Bruce Cassidy replaced Julien in Boston and the Bruins are 41-18-8 since. It all adds to a great rivalry that will play out three times in the next eight days (Saturday; Wednesday in Boston; Jan. 20 in Montreal).

"We know that he's done such a good job and great work for us while he was in Boston," Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said of Julien on the team's Twitter account. "Now he's on a new mission and a new job. He's got to do what he's got to do and we've got to do what we have to do."

The Bruins, second in the Atlantic Division, will be trying to earn at least a point for the 12th game in a row (8-0-3). The Bruins are coming off a 6-5 loss in overtime at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

The Canadiens won two games in a row heading into their five-game break, 2-1 in a shootout against the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 4 and 5-2 against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

The Canadiens are in 14th place in the Eastern Conference, eight points behind the Carolina Hurricanes who hold the second wild card position.

"It's a big week," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron told the team's website. "We don't have to talk about it too much. We know what's at stake. We all know Montreal is trying to climb back in and we've got to find a way to push them back down.

"It's always big games against them and we like the rivalry and the way those games are usually played."

"It's so crucial for us to get out of the break and continue to play the way we did before the break," Chara said. "It's big two weeks coming up, playing three times against Montreal. Those are going to be very important games for us, very heated rivalry games, so we are looking forward to it."

Julien tweaked one of his top lines for practice Friday, moving Charles Hudon to right wing in Artturi Lehkonen's spot with Jonathan Drouin and Alex Galchenyuk. Lehkonen skated with Max Pacioretty and Phillip Danault.

Rookie defenseman Victor Mete, who won a gold medal with Canada at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, practice with the Canadiens on Friday (he was paired up with veteran David Schlemko and appeared to be part of the top six) and Julien said he will play. The Canadiens still have the option of returning him to junior with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.

"If we kept him here, we certainly expect to play him," Julien told The Montreal Gazette. "That's one thing. The rest, we haven't looked any further than that. Those decisions down the road will probably belong more to upper management than us and we'll be part of that discussion. But right now, I just have a guy at my disposal that I'm going to utilize the best way I can."

The Canadiens will be playing the fourth contest of a five-game homestand. Eight of the Canadiens 11 games in January are at home where the Canadiens are 11-8-3 this season.

Canadiens forward Ales Hemsky, who has been out since Oct. 20 with concussion like symptoms, practiced Friday, but no date has been set for his return.

Updated January 13, 2018

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