The Montreal Canadiens' winning streak has coincided with the Boston Bruins' recent run, and they've gained little ground on their Northeast Division rivals in more than a week.
That can change Tuesday night, and it may not be pretty given the most recent meeting.
Montreal looks for its fifth consecutive victory when it hosts Boston as the teams face off for the first time since an extremely physical matchup in February.
Carey Price made 43 saves Saturday, helping the Canadiens (36-23-7) to a 4-2 win at Tampa Bay which capped a sweep of their three-game road trip. Price stopped 113 of the 116 shots he faced during the swing as sixth-place Montreal moved five points ahead of the seventh-place Rangers in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens are five points behind the Bruins for the division lead.
"We all bought into this road trip," Price said. "We made some stops and scored some goals and came out on top, so it was a great road trip for us."
The Canadiens went 2 for 3 on the power play against the Lightning and are 4 for 10 with the man advantage during their four-game run. Montreal hasn't won five straight since a six-game streak March 6-16, 2010.
Max Pacioretty scored both power-play goals against Tampa Bay. Pacioretty has four of his 10 goals this season against the Bruins.
Pacioretty scored a pair Feb. 9 in an 8-6 Boston victory, which featured a combined 182 penalty minutes after multiple brawls in the second period. Price and Boston goaltender Tim Thomas even dropped the gloves.
"I think we were just play-fighting more than anything," Price said after the game. "Neither of us really wanted to get hurt, but we are out there doing whatever we had to do, I guess."
Brian Gionta has a goal in each of the four contests against the Bruins this season.
Montreal had won the three previous meetings, and the loss snapped Price's six game winning streak against Boston, dropping him to 6-1-0 with a 2.38 goals-against average in his last seven meetings.
Boston center Patrice Bergeron said the importance of Tuesday's game should make it a different atmosphere than the last meeting.
"We're not heading to Montreal trying to do the same thing as last game," Bergeron said. "I don't expect anything at all. It's huge points for both teams when you look at the standings. It's going to be huge until the end of the year, and it's going to be a big game."
Bergeron missed the Bruins' 3-2 overtime loss Saturday against Pittsburgh for personal reasons but rejoined the team before Monday's practice. He has two goals and four assists against Montreal this season.
Boston (38-19-8) had its seven-game winning streak snapped, but pulled within two points of conference-leading Philadelphia. The Bruins have won six in a row on the road, allowing only nine goals.
Nathan Horton has a point in five straight and seven of his last eight games. He had a goal and four assists in the last meeting against Montreal.
Pacioretty scored in overtime for a 3-2 Canadiens victory Jan. 8 in the most recent matchup in Montreal, where Boston has lost three straight.