The Boston Bruins have won their last five games, but on Wednesday evening they’ll be looking to end a five game losing streak.
The Montreal Canadiens, whom the Bruins are facing Wednesday night, have beaten Boston the last five times they’ve met, and Bruins coach Claude Julien isn’t sure why.
“I don’t know. I can’t answer that, but I can tell you one thing, I don’t think we’ve played well against them,” Julien told reporters on Tuesday. “Have they given us trouble or have we given ourselves trouble? That’s the thing we’ve got to figure out here…”
The Bruins and Habs have played twice this season; the Bruins lost a close one in Montreal on Dec. 5, a 2-1 defeat, and they were embarrassed on Jan. 30, losing 4-1, with goalie Tuukka Rask getting pulled early.
Rask in particular needs to exorcise some demons against the Habs; his career record against Montreal is an appalling 2-10-2. He is expected to start Wednesday evening.
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Despite his club’s recent success against Boston, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien is not taking the Bruins for granted.
“First of all, the Bruins, this is a good hockey team,” he told reporters on Tuesday, “They are battling with Pittsburgh right now for first place in the conference and every game is a new challenge. Tomorrow is no different and it’s a huge challenge for us.”
As Therrien alluded to, the Bruins currently sit at 89 points, good for first place in their division but three points behind the Penguins for first in the Eastern Conference.
Therrien also said that goalie Carey Price is not quite ready to come back from his “lower-body injury” yet after Price practiced fully for the first time since returning from the Olympic break. Peter Budaj is expected to start in goal.
New to the Bruins-Habs rivalry is Thomas Vanek, whom the Habs acquired at the trade deadline a week ago.
Vanek, who has spent the majority of his career with the Buffalo Sabres, has been a thorn in the Bruins side for years. In the 53 games he has suited up against Boston, the Austrian sniper has amassed a whopping 61 points.
Vanek spoke humbly about his success against Boston with reporters on Tuesday, saying, “The last four or five years, to me, Boston has been one of the better teams in the league…You want to play your best against the best teams…”
Vanek also spoke about the fierce rivalry these two teams share.
“The rivalries, I think, are for the fans and they're good to have in this league, but for us in here, and I'm sure it's the same as everywhere, it's just about winning two points,” he said. “I'm sure the atmosphere is going to be great and I can't wait to experience it…"
Paille out with concussion
Julien informed the media that forward Daniel Paille will miss at least the next two games with a “minor concussion”. Jordan Caron was seen skating in practice with Paille’s usual linemates Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.