Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Bruins set to battle rival Canadiens

Game #53: Montreal Canadiens (28-20-5) vs. Boston Bruins (34-15-3)

Location: TD Garden

Time: 7:00 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub

The Boston Bruins will rekindle their fierce rivalry with the hated Canadiens on Thursday night as Montreal is set to invade TD Garden. This meeting marks the second of four slated contests this season. Montreal beat Boston 2-1 at Bell Centre back on December 5.

Since these clubs last locked horns, they have been trending in opposite directions. The Bruins have won five of their last six while the Canadiens have dropped four of their last five. Boston, sitting atop the Atlantic Division, currently holds a 10 point advantage on the Habs in the standings.

Though it’s probably a safe bet to ignore recent statistics as the past nine games between the two have been decided by a single goal.

Montreal enters this showdown struggling offensively. They’ve netted just eight goals in their last five games. Their powerplay has struck just three times in its last 33 attempts. Max Pacioretty leads the team with 22 goals on the year. Thomas Plekanec is the next closest with 16. Brendan Gallagher checks in with 14 scores.

Boston on the other hand boasts a plethora of offensive weapons. Claude Julien‘s club has notched 18 goals in their past three tilts. Montreal has surrendered 19 goals in its past five games. Based on how things have gone of late, another offensive explosion could be in line.

Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith have been scorching hot for Boston. The trio has combined for 39 points, 15 goals and 14 assists, in their last seven outings. Zdeno Chara has been as consistant a scorer as any defenseman, having totalled 13 goals thus far.

Each of Boston’s top-six forwards have recorded at least 10 goals to date. Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla combined for seven points in Monday’s 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers.

Chris Kelly returned to Boston’s lineup on Monday and will look to build on his strong showing.  Adam McQuaid will remain sidelined with a leg injury. Montreal will do battle sans forward Alex Galchenyuk.

Tags: Boston Bruins Boston Bruins Game Preview

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