Series (Game 2 of 6)

Montreal leads 4-2

Game 1: Thursday, November 11th
Game 2: Thursday, December 16th
Game 3: Saturday, January 8th
Game 4: Wednesday, February 9th
Game 5: Tuesday, March 8th
Game 6: Thursday, March 24th

Bruins 3

(16-10-4, 36 pts)

Canadiens 4

(19-11-2, 40 pts)

Coverage: NHL

7:30 PM ET, December 16, 2010

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 2 3 T
BOS 1 1 13
MTL 3 1 04

M. Pacioretty (Canadiens - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

M. Cammalleri (Canadiens - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

B. Gionta (Canadiens - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Bruins-Canadiens Preview


The Montreal Canadiens' victory at TD Garden last month prevented the Boston Bruins from pulling even in the Northeast Division standings.

The Canadiens need any type win at home over the Bruins on Thursday night to maintain sole possession of the top spot in the division.

Montreal tries to avoid its first four-game losing streak since in almost a year Thursday night when it continues an Original Six rivalry with Boston, which is looking to rebound from its first regulation loss in more than two weeks.

Led by rookie defenseman P.K. Subban's first NHL goal and 34 saves from Carey Price, Montreal (18-11-2) moved four points ahead of the Bruins (16-9-4) with its fourth consecutive victory in Boston, 3-1 on Nov. 11.

While the Canadiens have won three straight and six of seven versus the Bruins, they have just a two-point lead over Boston following their third consecutive loss, 5-3 to Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia on Wednesday. That ended Montreal's six-game points streak at the Bell Centre and put the team in position for its first four-game skid since an 0-4-1 stretch from Dec. 10-17, 2009.

"For the most part, we did a lot of good things. We've got to figure out how to make it 60 minutes," captain Brian Gionta said after scoring his team high-tying 10th goal. "If you don't put yourself in a (3-1) hole like that you have a much better chance of coming out with a win. We did a good job of battling back in the second and third but those mistakes hurt us."

The Bruins' penalty-killing unit hurt them as the club's season-high six-game points streak ended with Wednesday's 3-2 loss in Buffalo.

"Our penalty kill has got to be better," coach Claude Julien said after his team yielded two power-play goals to Drew Stafford, who finished with a hat trick. "It was not on top of its game. We gave them the shots and the looks they wanted, and we didn't react very well."

Prior to Wednesday, Boston had yielded multiple power-play goals just once since Subban and Gionta converted last month.

Tim Thomas, the league leader with a 1.51 goals-against average, will likely be in net as the Bruins try to avoid a season-high tying third straight defeat.

Thomas, who has the NHL's best winning percentage with a 14-2-3 record, has backed up Tuukka Rask in the last five meetings with Montreal, allowing five goals in his last start in this matchup, a 5-1 loss at the Bell Centre on Dec. 4, 2009, when he was pulled after two periods.

Thomas is 3-6-2 with a 3.14 GAA over 11 career starts in Montreal.

Playing their last game before kicking off a season-high seven-game trip in Colorado on Sunday, the Canadiens should go with Price, who is 10-2-2 with a 2.30 GAA in 14 starts against the Bruins.

Canadiens center Scott Gomez, who had two assists Wednesday after missing the previous two games with a lower body injury, also scored on Nov. 11.

Boston won 3-2 in its last visit to Montreal on March 13.