The Boston Bruins are on a five-game winning streak with recent wins over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Philadelphia Flyers, the New York Islanders, the New York Rangers, and the San Jose Sharks. Furthermore, the team continues to sit atop the NHL standings with 78 points, achieving the feat in just 48 games.
Tonight the B’s take the ice at the Bell Centre against the Montreal Canadiens in the first contest of a five-game road trip that concludes next Wednesday in Toronto before the team breaks for the All-Star Game week off.
Today’s Bruins Game Notes
The Bruins didn’t play in their usual time slot on Saturday evening and instead took on the Sharks in a Sunday night matchup. Interestingly, the Bruins opted not to practice on Monday, heading across the border to get settled in Montreal and setting up a practice this morning.
Yesterday, the team recalled Marc McLaughlin from the Providence Bruins to accompany the team on the road trip. McLaughlin joins Joona Koppanen as another recent prospect in the lineup, since the team is currently shorthanded with Jake DeBrusk and Tomas Nosek nursing injuries.
Recently, Koppanen picked up his first NHL point with an assist against the Sharks, so the youngster is adjusting to the pace of the NHL. Meanwhile, McLaughlin already has three career goals, and if he sees any playing time this week, he could add to his totals.
Currently, the Bruins are getting contributions from everyone in the lineup, including all the defensemen who have scored a goal lately and continue to pile up points during the current win streak.
On top of outstanding goaltending performances from Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman, watching the Bruins over the next couple of games will be fun to see if these monumental streaks can continue.
The Bruins are 9-1-0 in their last ten games while riding a five-game win streak, improving upon the league’s best goal differential plus-81. Meanwhile, the Canadiens come in as the 25th-best team in the league and is 5-5-0 in their last ten, picking up a huge upset win on Hockey Day in Canada against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. The Habs now have a minus-46 goal differential, which is the fifth worst in the league.
Bruins & Canadiens Players to Watch
As mentioned, the Bruins employ the best goalie tandem in the NHL, with Ullmark becoming the fastest netminder in league history to 25 wins in a single season. At the same time, Swayman has been unbeatable in his last five games, surrendering just four goals.
Moreover, Swayman earned a shutout against the Flyers last Monday and had to come in as an emergency substitute on Sunday when Ullmark had a skate problem. Of course, Swayman turned away the only shot he faced to preserve the shutout, improving his save percentage to .966 (SV) in 2023.
Historically, the Alaskan native has never lost to the Canadiens, with a perfect 3-0-0 record giving up seven goals for a 2.33 goals-against average (GAA) and .916% SV against the Original Six rival.
Meanwhile, the Canadiens have had a rough season and, without their star goalie Carey Price, have struggled since appearing and losing in the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. Coming into tonight’s contest, the Bruins are heavily favored because the Canadiens are the 28th-ranked team on offense and the 28th-ranked team in goals against.
Their leading scorer is Nick Suzuki (38 points), and recently, they just lost Cole Caufield (36 points) for the remainder of the season. Although they have a few other players to watch out for, like Sean Monahan, Kirby Dach, and Josh Anderson, the offense seems to run through the captain, Suzuki, who has three points in his last five games.
Thus far in his young career, he’s only collected two points against the Bruins through eight games, earning his worse plus/minus rating (minus-11) against his divisional rival.
Bruins & Canadiens Historical Notes
Tonight’s game will mark the 755th time the Bruins and Canadiens have met, the most of any opponent in the team’s history. Unfortunately, the Habs remain one of only five teams in league history to boost a winning record against the black and gold 288-353-103-10. Additionally, the B’s have been outscored 2263-2004 in one of the game’s true rivalries.
Interestingly, the Bruins are 30-30-2-3 in 65 games at Bell Centre, which opened in 1996. Those numbers are quite an improvement from the days of playing at the old Montreal Forum, where the B’s were less successful with a 101-195-47-0 record. Despite being outscored in the new arena, 181-178, the team has won nine out of the last ten meetings in the Quebec city dating back to 2018-19.
Currently, the B’s are on a seven-game win streak against the Canadiens, including a four-game season sweep in 2021-22, last losing to the club on November 5, 2019.
Who’s Next for the Boston Bruins
After departing the wintery northeast to head to an even colder destination, the Bruins will welcome the warm weather in the Sunshine State with a matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday and a date with the Florida Panthers in Miami on Saturday.
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