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PREVIEW: Boston hosts Montreal Canadiens in Atlantic, old-school rival matchup

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Just three points behind Boston in the division race, Montreal has much at stake against the Bruins.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins
Coach Bruce Cassidy extolled Ryan Donato’s great play of late.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

PREVIEW

Just the Facts

Who: Boston hosts Montreal for an Original Six matchup.

What: Boston has wins in five of their six games in January, including victories over a once-resurgent Buffalo Sabres and the “new rival” Toronto Maple Leafs. Montreal is 3-3 this month, holding pat in the first Atlantic Division wild card seat via wins over Vancouver, Detroit, and Colorado.

When: 7:30 PM

Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA

How to watch: NBC Sports, RDS, TSN2

Rival SBN site: Eyes on the Prize

Know Your Enemy

Team Leaders

Goals: Brendan Gallagher, 17

Assists: Max Domi, 25

Points: Domi, 39

Really - the team leader in points is Max Domi with 39. Not a slight on the player, but don’t let the lower total fool you - the Habs have five players with over 30 points, while Boston has just four. Montreal has pulled contributions from up and down the lineup to keep themselves in the Wild Card hunt.

Game Notes

After being shut out by Montreal in late October, Boston has had the upper hand in the two games since - a nailbiter and a drubbing, both Boston wins - setting up this regular-season finale between the Bruins and Canadiens. We mentioned Montreal’s record in January as being ‘meh’; this comes on the heels of a December above expectations as they earned 10 wins in 15 games over the course of the month. (They did play Ottawa three times...) Still unsure of what Montreal will show up, and gaining speed with a near-complete roster, the B’s have the chance to prove that their loss to the Capitals is a blip.

Depth impact came at an opportune time against Toronto, and from a recently anointed “bright spot”. Sean Kuraly has been a player possessed this month ever since his Winter Classic heroics. which has been a welcome sign after noticing reduced production from Danton Heinen and David Backes.

Tuukka Rask also has been playing well this month, and the team has benefited - he’s won his last five starts, and has settled into the sharing routine he and Jaroslav Halak have established. We’ll likely see Jaro in net against the Habs, just to keep the alternating going. The platoon method is working out thus far.

NEVER FORGET

...Our last game against Montreal, December 17th of last year. CHERISH IT.