MONTREAL, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 26: Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins stops the puck on a shot by Alain Berger #34 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL pre-season game at the Bell Centre on September 27, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Benoit Pouliot is looking to make a statement against his former team tonight. Then again, so is Claude Julien.
Pouliot was acquired by Boston in free agency after Montreal opted not to re-sign him following the 2010-11 season. The former first-round draft pick admitted after this morning's skate that he's ready to "show" Montreal what they're missing out on by not having him on the team anymore.
There are storylines aplenty heading into this one: Max Pacioretty's first game against the Bruins since Zdeno Chara broke his neck; Max Pacioretty's hot streak to start the season; Max Pacioretty playing with an injured wrist; the proper spelling of Max Pacioretty's last name; Max Pacioretty expects to be booed, the list goes on. But the real storyline is that the Northeast Division's two premier teams are on the verge of last place in the conference if they're unable to get two points tonight.
The Canadiens, who skated to an emotional 5-1 trouncing of the Philadelphia Flyers last night, got into Boston early this morning and didn't skate today. They'll continue to play for the job of head coach Jacques Martin, whose seat is very hot following the team's worst start in decades. Meanwhile, the Bruins could treat tonight like opening night again and they wouldn't be wrong in doing so.
There will be no banner raised at TD Garden tonight, but the Black and Gold, fresh off of a four-day break, get back to hockey after taking some time away to dress up as giant bunnies, take photo shoots with one another and enjoy the New England fall.
That New England fall is now over, as snow is forecasted to fall while the Bruins and Canadiens get re-acquainted, but don't expect the cold weather to temper the heat on the ice or in the stands. It's been six months since the Black and Gold and Les Rogue, Blanc et Bleu went at it, and they've got a lot of lost time to make up for.
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