After the Boston Bruins set the single season points record in their final home game of the season with a win, the team plays their last regular season game on Thursday night against the archrival Montreal Canadiens in enemy territory.
Boston enters the final tilt of the regular season a perfect 5-0-0 in their last five games, setting the single season wins record and points record in the process, going for win number 65 to wrap up the season. The Canadiens enter this showdown with a 1-4-0 record in their last five games as they assume the bottom of the eastern conference standings.
In both previous meetings this season, it’s the Bruins who have come out on top against the Habs. The teams first met on January 24 in Montreal, with the Bruins prevailing by a score of 4-2. A few weeks ago at the TD Garden, the Bruins won again, also by a 4-2 final score.
Linus Ullmark got his final start of the season against the Capitals on Tuesday night. The team recalled Brandon Bussi from Providence on an emergency basis as Ullmark won’t make the trip to Montreal. As of Wednesday afternoon, a starter has not been named, but Jim Montgomery said they were leaning toward Jeremy Swayman.
If Swayman indeed gets the start, he’ll be going for his eighth win in a row to end the season, with his last loss coming in mid-March to the Detroit Red Wings. Overall, Swayman is 23-6-4 on the season with a 2.21 GAA and .922 save percentage.
If the Bruins pull a heel turn and choose to start Bussi, it would be the college free agent signee’s first NHL game. He sat on the bench as the backup to Swayman on Sunday against the Flyers in the first record setting victory.
Sam Montembeault started for the Canadiens on Wednesday, so it’s fair to assume Jake Allen will start the second end of Montreal’s back to back. Allen is wrapping up his third season in Montreal, entering his final start with a 15-24-3 record, posting a 3.55 GAA and .891 save percentage in 42 games.
On the injury front, there are some notable developments. Ullmark left Tuesday’s game in the third period, with Swayman preserving the victory. Montgomery said after the game that it was merely muscle tightness and the decision to pull him was merely precautionary. Exhale everyone.
Veteran center David Krejci, who has missed the last chunk of games with an injury, will not play against the Canadiens but will be available for game one of the playoffs. Fourth line center Tomas Nosek is dealing with an illness and is questionable for the game.
In addition, defenseman Derek Forbort and forward Nick Foligno, both on LTIR, are practicing in full contact and are checking boxes as their returns seem imminent. Forbort’s penalty killing prowess is sure to be a welcome addition to the lineup come playoff time.
So, without further ado, the Bruins look to go undefeated in the regular season in April with their regular season finale. Let’s go Bruins!