Montreal (9-2-2) at Boston (9-3-3) 7:00 p.m. EST
BOSTON (Ticker) -- The Boston Bruins are perhaps the hottest
team in the NHL. If the Bruins plan on staying atop the
Northeast Division, however, they will have to take down their
The Bruins face a huge test on Thursday when they put their
four-game winning streak on the line against the Montreal
P.J. Axelsson scored the decisive goal in the third round of the
shootout, lifting Boston to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago
Blackhawks on Wednesday. Marco Sturm scored a power-play goal
in regulation and Tim Thomas made 31 saves for the Bruins, who
improved to 7-1-0 over their last eight games and halted a
seven-game slide in shootouts.
However, if Boston, which is tied with the Buffalo Sabres for
the top spot in the Northeast with 21 points, wants to stay in
first place, it will have to end a 12-game regular season losing
streak to the Canadiens. The Bruins pushed Montreal to seven
games during last season's Eastern Conference quarterfinals but
have not earned a win against their rivals outside the playoffs
since March 3, 2007.
Thomas has won five of his last six starts, but may not be in
goal because he has lost his last eight outings to Montreal,
falling to 4-12-2 with a 3.22 goals-against average lifetime.
He made 25 saves on October 25, but surrendered the lone goal in
the shootout as the Bruins dropped a 4-3 decision to the
Canadiens in their first meeting this season.
Montreal bounced back from a shootout and regulation loss with a
4-0 rout of the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday in its most recent
game. Christopher Higgins registered his first career hat trick
and Carey Price stopped 28 shots for his first shutout of the
season and the fourth of his career.