B’s don’t take Habs lightly

Boston Bruins headshots

Spirits are not very high and the frustrations are mounting among the players of Club de Hockey Canadien, but one thing that might help snap them back to attention is a game against the Bruins. That’s just who the Habs visit on Thursday night.

Certainly the Bruins feel that way. It’s the mark of a good team that they take no opponent lightly, even one that is struggling. B’s coach Claude Julien put his Stanley Cup champions through a short, crisp practice on Wednesday and then told reporters the Canadiens still represent a major challenge for his team.

“It doesn’t matter what their situation is, they always play well against us,” said Julien. “They know they can, and they come in with lots of confidence and then they give us tough games. Every time we’ve beat them, we’ve had to play really good hockey, and that’s what we have to be prepared to do tomorrow.

“The one thing they seem to do is give us good games all the time,” the former Habs coach added. “Just like certain teams match up better than others, and I think they feel confident when they play against us. They play a style that gives us some issues, and we have to really battle hard to beat those guys.”

The teams have split their first four encounters this season, with the Habs taking those back-to-back games at the end of October and Boston winning the next two. Three of the four games have been decided by a goal. A big reason these teams play close, exciting game is they are two of the faster teams in the league. However, the B’s have much more than speed.

Although Boston trails the Rangers by three points for the Eastern Conference lead, they are still in a very good groove. After dropping that pair to Montreal early on, they went on a 14-0-1 run, lost two straight, then won eight of nine before losing to the Canucks on Saturday.

They didn’t play particularly well for two periods against the Jets on Tuesday, but turned it on in the final period with three goals to defeat Winnipeg 5-3.

While the Habs third period woes are well-known, the B’s continue to flourish in the final 20 minutes of regulation, their 60 goals ranking only behind the Senators’ 62 — and Boston has played five fewer games than Ottawa.

Of course, Boston will be without one of the players that provides their identity — second line winger and first-class irritant Brad Marchand, who will sit the second game of a five game ban for his clipping infraction on the Canucks Sammy Salo.

Stepping into Marchand’s spot on the line with Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin is none other than Benoit Pouliot (pictured), who has five points in his last three games and nine in his last nine (including a goal vs. the Habs last month). Yes, that Benoit Pouliot.

He’s not the only hot stick in Boston. David Krejci has 10 points in his last five games. Milan Lucic has seven points in his last five games and nine in his last eight.

Nathan Horton, who has emerged from a dry spell, scored two big goals against the Jets, including one eight seconds into the third. He’s got five goals in the last four games and nine points in the last nine.

This is a team that has scored 70 more goals than it has allowed, by far the best differential in the NHL. Runners-up Vancouver and Detroit are plus-36; the Rangers plus-35 by comparison. Their 3.67 average goals for a game is best in the league.

No surprise, they also are strong defensively. They come into the game averaging only 1.92 goals against per contest, the only team in the league under 2.00.

And they wouldn’t be the Bruins without leading the league in penalty minutes, averaging 16.5 minutes a game. Shawn Thornton’s fight Tuesday gives them 33 majors on the season, one more than the Rangers.

Tuukka Rask played against the Jets on Tuesday, so Tim Thomas will almost certainly be in goal on Thursday. No need to supply stats to demonstrate how good he is.

Here’s the expected Boston lineup:

Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Nathan Horton
Benoit Pouliot, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin
Chris Kelly, Zach Hamill, Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg, Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference, Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

55 Comments

  1. pedro says:

    Cammaleri would be much happier and productive on a team that can give him some space to shoot.He is a defensive liability on a team that has lots of small players -look at how fast Boston is but with bigger players.This is ultimately the failure of the general managers to assemble a competetive team;without great goaltending from Price,Halak we would be awful.Time for a new direction.

    Pedro

  2. ThatOldChestnut says:

    Habs will probably roll over tonight, sorry to say. They’re just a disaster right now, and the Bruins are smokin’ everyone. What a horrible year.

    Sorry to add to the negativity. It’s a really hard time to be a hockey fan when these goons winning the way they are, and when the Habs are a shadow of their former great selves.

    • aj says:

      Looking at the lineup, the last thing our Habs will do tonight is to get into a scuffle the same way Vancouver did with this Barbarians.

    • DorvalTony says:

      A one game losing streak is no cause for such lemming-like behaviour. It’s only January 12. If MaxPac AK46 Pleky and Cammwhiney get hot and Price lives up to his hype anything is possible. ColeTrain should be cap’n…but he’ll lead whether he is or not. Goal for Diaz tonight.

      ——————————–
      “Okay, everybody take a Valium.”

      • bleedhabs81 says:

        pretty innocuous comment, but why even make it? (regarding Price and hype).

        Price carried the team last year… so… I wouldn’t consider it hype at this point. The kid can play goal. If it wasn’t for Tim “I play every other game” Thomas and his sick numbers last year, Price may have had a chance at the Vezina.

        I understand you love Halak, but it seems that you have a bias against Price. Why?

        (maybe I am wrong and I am confusing you with some other poster. I apologize if that is the case).

      • ThatOldChestnut says:

        It’s not just the one-game losing “streak,” it’s a 16-19-7, 24th place in a 30 team league. Something is mentally wrong with this team, and if/when that is fixed, maybe they can battle the top teams. Maybe it’ll be tonight, who knows.

  3. habstrinifan says:

    Is anyone else having this problem? You come to the board read thru the comments and get in the mood to post, say something.

    Then you read more, think a bit, and just get that Cammy feeling about you.. like loserville. Anything positive about the team, you feel like pointing out, sounds like delusional hogwash. And you really cant add anything new to the “negative nattering” … so you hit the “X” button, close the website for a few seconds and hope that when you open it again it’s next year already.

    Even reading John Bellyful’s wonderful Ryan White bit could only muster up a kinda desultory enjoyment. Like looking at scab on a sore after you just showered. Looks clean but cant hide the boo-boo.

    Even Boone’s attempt at encouragement, “we always give the Bruins a tough game” is met wit a “who cares” now.

    Move over Cammy… you got company!

    • SlovakHab says:

      There is a lot of negativity, for sure..
      People want superstars on the team, but do not understand that we need to be REALLY bad to get them.

      I am actually pretty positive about the future – NHL does really reward suckitude.. I would love us to become Oilers for 3 seasons and have a new Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi etc etc on our team.

      I am excited for things to come as long as we are really good or really bad – being average hurts you the most in the NHL.

      I do not agree with tanking, e. g. deliberately losing. But I really want to unload all that average team (Cammy, Gionta, Gill, Gomez, AK, Plekanec) and get some real quality instead.

      If Philly, Boston, Pittsburgh or Rangers could do it (mind you so could Tampa, Anaheim and Columbus and where are they now??), it is certainly possible…

      But NHL is extremely competitive so let’s not ever expect anything remotely close to dynasty, guys.

    • DorvalTony says:

      Send him to Anaheim. Cammalleri I mean, ha.

      ——————————–
      “Okay, everybody take a Valium.”

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Nooooooooo Habstrinifan!

      Not you! Always so positive and constructive and fair! You are not allowed go neg!

      A bad season is a bummer, nowhere more so than in Montreal where the dynasties of previous generations leave us with the lowest capacity for patience league-wide!

      You are clearly the truest of fans, and true fans always find something to enjoy, to root for, to look forward to down the road.

      For me, I haven’t let go of playoff hopes yet — like theatre-goers and the willing suspension of disbelief, fans sometimes suspend their reason. But it’s sport, not your investment portfolio, so we should be allowed to do that.

      I hate seeing them play badly, I hate when their morale sinks, and I hate when what’s wrong is a mystery. But I love willing them on to scrape into the playoffs. And should that become a mathematical impossibility, I’ll love watching the young guys develop, Price robbing people, Emelin hitting, etc.

  4. Marc10 says:

    I was pretty shocked by Cams’ comments.

    He hasn’t shown up THIS YEAR… never mind the last game. It takes some balls to make those comments.

    And people are giving PK crap. Wow! PK at least is trying.

  5. The Cat says:

    You can never fault a goalie when he stops 9 out 10 shots, but tonight is the night, the bleeding has to stop: Price has to steal this game and show why so many think he’s special.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  6. Bertuzzi says:

    Clearly, the best option for the team now is to lose as many games as possible from here on in. At the same time, it’s fun to watch Eller and company score goals. Soon, they will start winning games just because the pressure is off and they will be playing loosey-goosey hockey and playing the role of the spoilers.

  7. Off topic, yet worthwhile,…

    All Star Rosters announced in Ottawa later on this month

    Only one hab on the roster – Carey price
    Three Bruins on the roster – Tim Thomas, Chara and Bergeron
    Yet their are 5 Senators named to the All Star

    See the complete list here,…
    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=611147

    Visit us @
    http://www.articlespluss.com

  8. j2w4habs25 says:

    Montreal Canadiens 15th place – Draft pick Is Nail Yakupov.

    Carey Price #31

  9. The Cat says:

    There is a culture of losing in Montreal. This is my opinion but it started right after the cup run. The five biggest soldiers in that cup run, in order, were Halak, Lapierre, Cammalleri, Subban, Moore. Instead of rewarding those that delivered in the big games, they were treated as afterthoughts. The “system” played isn’t more important than the players in it. You always got to reward those that do right by you and not treat them like expendable parts.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  10. montreal ace says:

    WOW, the amount of comments putting the club down are over the top. Things such as hockey clubs break down in life, the pain is when you can not do anything to fix the problem. This club has money and assets to repair the problems we have. I see lots of ways we can do this. I dont even mind Cammi speaking his piece, screw that wall of silence the Habs have. The need for clubs to improve themselves is on going. PG had us leave the gate at the start of the season in a bad way, this will not happen next year.

  11. MisterAtkin says:

    Hey!

    Has anyone checked out this new add for Brad Marchand memorabilia?

    http://i.imgur.com/tXYVr.jpg

  12. price365 says:

    it’ll be years before we match the Bruins – size, toughness, can score, skill level is not bad and good goaltending.
    we have two out of the five skill, goaltending.

    • matt jordan says:

      i’d say the Habs have a lot less skill than the B’s, and i base that on the B’s better powerplay, better five on five play, and in general more goals scored

      but yes goaltending is even

      • SlovakHab says:

        I agree for sure.. It’s not the size that scores for them.. Bergeron, Seguin, Marchand, Pouliot and Krejci are supremely skilled guys!
        Lucic, Horton and Peverley are also pretty skilled.

        I hate them, but I respect the job Peter Chiarelli has done.

      • Clay says:

        Goaltending is not even – they are ahead in that area as well.

        __________________________
        ☞ “Talent is a gift from God, but you only succeed with hard work. Yvan was proof of that.” – Jean Beliveau. ☜

  13. brunob514 says:

    Lolll baddd move.

  14. BKAK72 says:

    Montreal is the destination place for second class hockey players earning first class salary. The reason our team has (midgets) like GIO and CAMMI is b/c their former clubs said “take a hike” when their contracts expired and no other GMs would take on the commitment.

    This is a brutally small sized hockey club.

    The fans on this site know it, the hockey analysts know it and the opposition knows it. This roster is the fault of Bob Gainey & Co. and for whatever reason PG thinks it was fine to keep it intact.

    IMHO the “keepers” on this roster are: PRICE, PK, COLE, MAX PAC with an outside look at PLEKS and that’s about it.

    — HABS INSIDE/OUT R.I.P. –

  15. brunob514 says:

    As much as I dislike the bruins for what they are and always have been.. I like whatt they did to ‘this’ bruins team. They are a fucking powerhouse. I hate chara ference thornton and all those guys but lucic marchand bergeron ect are really good players. I mean we could have had lucic too but we chose someone else. They’re dirty but the don’t get the job done, they blow it away. I wouldn’t even mind if they won it again this year. And then fall appart as soon as we are finished rebuilding :p

  16. deuce6 says:

    If I were Julien, I wouldn’t lose any sleep..lol

    ——————

    Yes, I’m a Hab fan..Wanna fight about it?

  17. glorydayspast says:

    I predict by the end of tommorrow night we will be saying Benoit F. Pouliot.

    Another ex-Hab will come back to bite us in the ass.

  18. Curtis O Habs says:

    Looks like Boston got Benny on the HGH program. Nathan Horton`s skull got bigger within a year of being with the Bruins. That is a sign of only one thing.

    • Sal says:

      Good point! NHL thinks it doesn’t have a problem. Whose minding the store? A whole team of cheaters would answer the question about how this team got to be so good in a short period of time. That, and an NHL edict that they are the direction the NHL wants to go to attract US fans.

      Sal from the Hammer

  19. dtoight says:

    Is Nail Yakupov a hab yet?

    • mb says:

      Nope. You can go back to sleep until the end of June, you’ll know by then! ;)

    • English is not a Crime says:

      Over-rated, decent skills by terrible attitude, very immature, weak work ethic. The risk could be bigger than the reward on that one. Also See: Alex Kovalev

    • Rad says:

      Fierce competitor. 190 lbs. and still filling out, will take a hit to make a play, and give as good as he gets. Burning desire to succeed. Lafleur-like speed, can break a game open. Doesn’t take too many nights off, wants to be the best — and probably will be. IMHO of course.

      • matt jordan says:

        ha, i love the two different analysis posted by you and English, that’s hilarious.

        I think he’ll make a good Canadien, based on the fact he is the physically smallest of the top ten prospects, which is a top priority among Habs management in picking an NHLer.

        • Duracell3 says:

          I doubt we will get him unless he doesn’t go #1, as bad as this team is, Columbus is going nowhere, and Anaheim looks like they may further blow up their team.

    • G-Man says:

      Never. Habs are too far ahead of last place.
      Won’t get Grigorenko either.

      _______________________________________________

      11 more losses to 9th place…or worse

  20. gmur says:

    That is one tough lineup to play against, even without Marchand. As much as I dislike some of things they do, the Bruins have an intimidating, talented group of players.

    • G-Man says:

      What can you say? NHL sponsored goon hockey wins in this bush league.

      _______________________________________________

      11 more losses to 9th place…or worse

  21. Timo says:

    What did he say? The only thing that he should be saying is “I suck. Here is 5.5 of the 6 mil you’re paying, because this is really what I should be paid based on my production”.

  22. habsolutely416 says:

    i couldnt agree more but i dont mind blunden. if they do decide to clean house by moving players like cammy, gill, moen, AK, etc, they should bring up some of the kids to play out the rest of the year. tinordi, bealieau, LL and some others could use to experience in the bigs. players like campoli, weber, and darche arent going to fetch much in return so take what you can get. i wouldnt be opposed to trading plekanec either but only if they could package him in a deal for a player like getzlaf.

    ill be in the slot ;)


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