The Boston Bruins look to improve to 3-0 without Brad Marchand in the lineup as they face off with their notorious Anglo-hating neighbors to the north, the Montreal Canadiens, this evening at TD Garden.
The Canadiens, who have struggled all season to get climb out of an early-season hole, have been plagued by injuries to their top (or at least highest-paid) talent. Captain Brian Gionta will not be playing tonight as he underwent surgery to repair a torn biceps muscle yesterday and is likely out for the rest of the season.
Meanwhile, the Bruins will continue to be without winger Brad Marchand, who is serving the second game of his five-game suspension for an illegal hit on Vancouver’s Sami Salo in the Bruins’ 4-3 loss to the defending Western Conference Champions on Saturday.
Benoit Pouliot will continue to skate in Marchand’s stead on the left side of Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin. Pouliot, whose presence and growth this year has been a pleasant surprise for Bruins coach Claude Julien, scored a power play goal in Tuesday’s 5-3 win over Winnipeg and has 8-7=15 totals in 34 games played this season.
The Canadiens are 12th in the Eastern Conference and are last in the Northeast Division, having lost seven of their last ten games.
Carey Price will be between the nets for Montreal, who plays in Boston for the last time this season – and the last time all year, unless a second-half surge finds the Habs in the playoffs.
Here’s what the Bruins will look like:
Benoit Pouliot – Patrice Bergeron – Tyler Seguin