CANADIENS (16-19-7) at BRUINS (27-11-1)
TV: NHLN-US (HD), RDS (HD), TSN, NESN (HD)
Last 10: Montreal 3-7-0; Boston 8-2-0
Season Series: Fifth of six meetings between these Northeast Division rivals. Montreal swept Boston in a home-and-home at the end of October, but the Bruins have since evened the series with a pair of one-goal victories. Tomas Plekanec
of the Canadiens leads all scorers with 3 goals.
Big Story: As tends to be the case when you pit a pair of Original Six squads against one another, the games have been tight all season regardless of which team has been struggling and which has been flying high. Three of the four prior matchups this season were decided by a single goal, and the other was a two-goal decision featuring an empty-netter in the final seconds.
Canadiens: Aiming to sweep a three-game homestand and remain perfect in the new year, Montreal was instead stymied by a familiar face Tuesday night. St. Louis came to town with Jaroslav Halak in net, and in his first game back at Bell Centre since Game 4 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals, he stopped all 19 shots he faced in handing the Canadiens a 3-0 defeat. The team's 30th-ranked power play (12.8 percent) had three consecutive opportunities in the second period to make a game of it, but came up empty.
"They're a good team and they came hard and forced us into bad spots," defenseman Hal Gill
said. "I think we did some good things but we have to do a lot more of the better things, a lot more winning battles, a lot more support. It's a simple game that they play but it's a deliberate game and it's a hard game, and we didn't match that the way we should have."
Bruins: In danger of dropping consecutive games for only the second time since November began, Boston required all of eight ticks off the third period clock to get its rally going Tuesday against Winnipeg. Nathan Horton scored his second goal of the night on a set play off the opening faceoff, tying the game, and Tyler Seguin had the go-ahead tally less than three minutes later. A power-play goal by Benoit Pouliot provided the final margin as the Bruins claimed a 5-3 win over the Jets.
"We were a good enough team, and a smart enough team, to at least come out in the third with some desperation and some intent in our game to do the right things and find a way to win, and I obviously liked our third period a lot," coach Claude Julien said.
Who's Hot: Erik Cole
has 9 goals in his last 14 games for the Canadiens. … Horton has 5 goals in his last four games for the Bruins. David Krejci has 5 goals and 9 assists during a nine-game points streak. Seguin has 3 goals and 4 assists during a five-game points streak. Patrice Bergeron has 4 goals and 4 assists during a four-game points streak.
Injury Report: Montreal captain Brian Gionta
underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a tear in his right biceps and is out indefinitely. Forward Scott Gomez
(groin) and defenseman Andrei Markov
(knee) remain on injured reserve. … Boston is healthy, but will be without forward Brad Marchand, who is serving a five-game suspension.
Stat Pack: Travis Moen
played his 200th game with the Canadiens on Tuesday. He has compiled 23 goals and 50 points since joining the club. … Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask won his fifth straight start and sixth consecutive decision on Tuesday, including an 11-save relief outing against the Blue Jackets on Dec. 10. In that appearance and in three of the starts, Rask hasn't allowed a goal.
Puck Drop: Boston got the best of a pair of penalty shots in Tuesday's game, as Rask stopped Winnipeg's Chris Thorburn in the first period and then grinder Shawn Thornton used a pretty backhand move to score on Ondrej Pavelec in the second.
"I've actually practiced that move a bunch," said Thornton, who lifted his leg like he was going to take a wrist shot between the circles before he continued toward the net. "We practice a lot of shootouts at the end of practice. I used to do it until Tuukka knew it. But after they called it, he was shaking his head yes to try it. So why not?"