Bruins, Canadiens meet for third time this season
The Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins will renew their long rivalry Monday at Bell Centre with both teams fighting for playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
The Canadiens (17-11-5), who hold the first wild-card position in the Eastern Conference, lead the Bruins (17-12-4), who hold the second wild-card position, by one point.
The teams split their two meetings earlier this season, with each team winning in the other's rink. The Canadiens defeated the Bruins 3-0 on Oct. 27 in Boston and the Bruins defeated the Canadiens 3-2 on Nov. 24 at Bell Centre.
For the second game in a row, the Canadiens will catch a team playing back-to-back games. The Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators for the third time in 12 days, all by 5-2 scores, on Saturday. The Senators defeated the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.
The injury-riddled Bruins, who are without top center Patrice Bergeron (sternoclavicular injury) and defenseman Zdeno Chara (left knee injury), lost 4-2 to the Buffalo Sabres at home on Sunday, their sixth loss in their past 10 games (4-6-0).
The Bruins tied the score 2-2 on a goal by defenseman Torey Krug with 6:39 to go in the third period but gave up Jeff Skinner's second goal of the game shortly after and it turned out to be the winner.
"I mean, we can't get down on ourselves," Bruins forward Ryan Donato said on the team's Twitter feed. "The way we are playing has worked. We shouldn't change that. Once we get our chances, we'll continue to score."
"Right after a goal, the first and last minutes of each period, those are big moments. You can't give up goals," Krug said on the Bruins' Twitter account. "You've got to keep that momentum and continue to go. It was another mistake where they scored the same type of goal twice in the game. Normally we pick up on that, make the adjustments and go from there. It was unfortunate we couldn't keep that momentum and go because I thought we were playing pretty well."
The Canadiens, meanwhile, are 6-4-0 in their past 10 games.
The win over the Senators was the 600th of Canadiens coach Claude Julien's career.
"It may be special, but I'm not the kind of person who pays much attention to things like that," Julien said after the game. "In 20 years, when I'm in my rocking chair, maybe I'll be able to look back on these kinds of moments, but right now I still have a lot of drive in me to continue winning.
"It's good, but to me it's not as important as what I see in front of me."
The Canadiens bounced back from a 2-1 deficit after two periods to defeat the Senators. They got fired up after a goal by Phillip Danault, which would have given the Canadiens a 3-2 lead, was called back when coincidental minors were called, including a controversial embellishment call against Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen, who was being hooked by Senators defensemen Thomas Chabot.
"We were a little upset and we transferred that energy the right way actually," Canadiens captain Shea Weber told Montrealcanadiens.com. "It was a good reaction. I think guys were really obviously upset and I thought we deserved a goal there, but we did the right things and we came back and played the right way after that."
It was the 10th time the Canadiens have scored at least five goals in a game this season. They did it 11 times all of last season.
"We're a different team than we were last year," Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher told the Montreal Gazette. "That kind of goes without saying.
"I think we play with more energy, I think we play better as a five-man unit and that leads to success at both ends of the rink. We're spending less time in our zone and playing more in the other end, and the more time you play down there it's only a matter of time before pucks start going in."
Updated December 16, 2018