(Sports Network) - The race between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens
for the Northeast Division title looks like it may go down to the wire. The
two rivals will meet for the final time this regular season as they clash on
Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
The Canadiens are the current division leaders with 53 points, one ahead of
the Bruins with 11 games to play. Boston has 12 contests left on its schedule
and both teams currently have 24 wins.
The Bruins took the first meeting of the season between the clubs in Montreal
on Feb. 2 to push their series winning streak to five straight overall and
three in a row at the Bell Centre, but the Habs have responded with a pair of
wins in Boston.
The Canadiens escaped with a wild 6-5 shootout victory in the most recent
encounter on March 27. Boston scored four straight goals in the second period
and Tyler Seguin's goal with 8:10 left in the third period had the Bruins up
by two, but Brendan Gallagher and Andrei Markov capped a three-goal frame for
the Canadiens with goals to force overtime, with Markov lighting the lamp on
the power play with 8.2 seconds on the clock.
Gallagher then had the lone goal of the six-round shootout.
Montreal starter Carey Price allowed four goals on 26 shots in two periods
before finding the bench and Peter Budaj ended with 14 saves in relief. Tuukka
Rask yielded five goals on 28 shots for the Bruins.
Both the Canadiens and Bruins are coming off victories on Thursday that kept
the race for first place at one point. Boston blanked the New Jersey Devils
1-0, while Montreal notched a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
Jaromir Jagr had the lone goal for the Bruins in his debut with the club after
being acquired from the Dallas Stars on Tuesday for forwards Lane MacDermid
and Cody Payne along with a conditional second-round pick. He registered 14
goals and 12 assists in 34 games with Dallas, but picked up his first goal
with the Bruins after Brad Marchand's centering feed hit off the crashing
forwards skate and in.
"Sometimes you have to be lucky to score," Jagr said. "I think that's the
first time I scored with my leg. When I was 25, I wouldn't have liked that
goal, but at 41 I'll take anything right now."
Rask posted 40 saves to notch his third shutout of the season, while Jagr
skated on a line with winger Marchand and the 21-year-old Seguin at center. He
shifted to the pivot spot with Patrice Bergeron out with a concussion.
Montreal did not make a big move prior to Wednesday's trade deadline, but did
get two goals an assist from in-season pickup Michael Ryder in the win over
Ryder was acquired from the Stars on Feb. 26 and has potted nine goals and 17
points in 17 games since the trade.
Brian Gionta scored a goal and an assist, Alex Galchenyuk lit the lamp and
Budaj ended with 33 saves for the Habs, who have won four of their last five
and bounced back from a 5-3 loss in Philadelphia the previous night.
"It was a rough game yesterday and we know we didn't play our best last
night," said Ryder. "So we tried to bounce back and we did that. It shows the
character of this team."
While Montreal is holding onto the top spot in the division after winning the
opener of a three-game series, it is also five points back of the Pittsburgh
Penguins for the first seed in the East.
The Sports Network