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Canadiens-Bruins Preview

Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien gives instructions to his team during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 of a first-round game in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, in Boston, Saturday, April 26, 2014. The Bruins won 4-2. (A Photo:

Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien gives instructions to his team during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 of a first-round game in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, in Boston, Saturday, April 26, 2014. The Bruins won 4-2. (A

The Boston Bruins have the NHL's best goaltending since the start of the new year.

The question is whether Tuukka Rask will get the chance to help them end their woes against the Montreal Canadiens.

The surging Bruins hope to avoid losing all four matchups this season against their Atlantic Division rivals Sunday night in Boston.

Boston (28-17-7) won 2-1 at home over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Rask stopped 39 shots in the Bruins' ninth win in 12 games.

"It's one of many lately,'' coach Claude Julien said of Rask's night. ''He's been in a zone, really good for us and focused and intense. He's not afraid to yell at the players around him if they're not doing their job. He's just been a determined athlete for us the last little while. It's made a big difference for our hockey team.''

Rask is 8-2-3 with a 1.67 goals-against average in his last 13 starts for Boston, which leads the NHL with a 1.64 GAA since the start of January.

Julien did not say whether Rask would start Sunday. He is 3-12-3 with a 2.81 GAA in 18 career regular-season starts against the Canadiens.

Backup Niklas Svedberg lost his lone start versus Montreal (33-15-3) in a 29-save effort in a 5-1 loss Nov. 13. Another option would be to give Malcolm Subban - the younger brother of Canadiens star P.K. Subban - his NHL debut.

''If they want me to play, I'll play,'' Rask said. ''It doesn't matter to me. Nobody's told me otherwise, so I'm sure I'll be playing. Hopefully I'll get a win so I don't have to answer any questions.''

Montreal took the final two games of last season's playoff series against Boston to win in seven games before going 3-0-0 this season versus the Bruins behind Carey Price's 1.67 GAA and a 13-5 edge in goals.

The Canadiens can complete their first regular-season sweep of Boston since taking all eight meetings in 2007-08.

Price made 33 saves the last time these teams met in a 2-0 road win Nov. 22. Despite the loss, the Bruins finally slowed down Max Pacioretty, who was held without a point after amassing five in the first two matchups.

Montreal is 4 for 11 on the power play in the season series.

That unit endured a four-game drought without a goal before going 3 for 3 in Saturday's 6-2 home win over New Jersey. Andrei Markov, Lars Eller and Tomas Plekanec all scored with the man advantage in the second period and the Canadiens added three goals in the third.

P.K. Subban matched a career high with three assists - all on the power play - for Montreal, which avoided a third straight loss and won for the sixth time in eight games.

"We moved the puck well and got to net when we had to," he said. "Our focus from the start was to try to generate as many shots as we could and we had 15 in the first period. Good things happened for us.''

Price made 21 saves. It is unclear if he will start Sunday, though he has posted a 1.17 GAA in capturing his last six road starts. Backup Dustin Tokarski has faced Boston once back in 2012.

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