One of the best rivalries in sports will be renewed Thursday night when the Canadiens visit the Bruins in Boston (7 p.m., TSN-HABS, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
At Thursday’s morning skate in Boston, the Canadiens announced that Peter Budaj will start in goal against the Bruins, giving Carey Price a rest. Budaj has made 13 appearances this season, posting a 5-4-2 record with a 2.06 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. Budaj has a career 3-0 record at Boston’s TD Garden with a 1.67 GAA.
Price has played in 43 games this season, posting a 23-16-7 record with a 2.44 GAA and .921 save percentage.
“It’s part of the plan that we’ve created with (goalie coach) Stephane Waite,” coach Michel Therrien told reporters in Boston after the morning skate. “We are coming up toward a stretch of four games in six days and it’s very important for us to manage Carey’s energy level so that he can be at his best when he plays.”
Therrien added that apart from the change in net, he will be using the same lineup that beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
This will be the second of four meetings between the Canadiens and Bruins this season. The Habs won the first game 2-1 at the Bell Centre on Dec. 5. The Canadiens have won their last four games against Boston going back to last season, but the Bruins are 20-5-2 at home this season. However, since 2000, the Habs have a 21-13-4 regular-season record in Boston.
“We’ve had a natural rivalry with the Bruins over the years and over the decades,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien told reporters in Brossard after practice Wednesday. “They are always games that are exciting to play, and there’s no doubt the way we played (Tuesday) helped our team’s confidence to play this game. The Bruins are playing well, so it will be a big challenge.
“We’ve got a physical presence,” Therrien added. “Douglas Murray makes his presence felt on defence and we have George Parros, too. We’ve got some guys with size and speed. Every time we face the Bruins, both teams are ready to play, and I know that my team is going to be ready to play.”
The Canadiens announced late Thursday afternoon that they have called up forward Christian Thomas from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. Thomas was to fly to Montreal Thursday night and be available for games this weekend.
After Thursday’s game, the Canadiens will play back-to-back weekend matinee games at the Bell Centre against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday and the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. Both games are 1 p.m. starts as part of Super Bowl weekend.
(Gazette file photo)