On the same night that Adele will say ‘Hello’ to her fans again in a CBS special interview and concert, the Montreal Canadiens (4-10-2, 10 pts), and Boston Bruins (7-5-0, 14 pts) do the same for the first time in 641 days and renew the oldest and best rivalry in the NHL at TD Garden Sunday night.
Due to the COVID pause in the 2019-20 NHL season and a 2021 season that saw the NHL divisions realigned, the Boston Bruins haven’t played their oldest and most bitter rival since beating them 4-1 on February 12, 2020, at TD Garden.
“It’s special. It goes beyond my playing days and it’s something that obviously I’ve witnessed as a kid,” Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said of the rivalry Sunday morning. “Those games are emotional and they’re fun to be a part of. As I’ve said many times before, it’s an honor to be part of those games, the rivalry, and all the history between both teams. So, I think those are the words you use and I don’t think you need much of a pep talk for a game like that.”
🎥 Patrice Bergeron on tonight's rivalry game vs Montreal: "It’s special. It goes beyond my playing days and it's something that obviously I’ve witnessed as a kid" pic.twitter.com/j1TX5NMgbm
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 14, 2021
Just in case you needed a refresher on what it means when the Bruins and Habs meet, here ya go:
Betting, Prediction – The Boston Bruins are heavy favorites coming into this game with the Canadiens at -250 on the money line. They’re +105 on the puck line (-1.5) and the Over/Under is set at 5.5. You can bet over at -105 and under at -115. If you like the Bruins to come out strong on a Habs team that got in late Saturday night after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit, then your best value may be the Bruins on the B’s -.5 in the first period bet at +130.
Prediction: Bruins 4 Canadiens 1
Boston Bruins Notes
-For a second straight game and night, rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman is getting the nod between the pipes after Ullmark was originally slated to start tonight for the Boston Bruins against the Habs. Cassidy did however hint at a possible change of plans following the win over the Devils Saturday:
“All in all his game has been pretty good. One game in Philly (against the Flyers) a bunch went in. … He needed more starts to get his numbers down. … All in all he’s been a very good goaltender for us. It’s a good competition and right now he’s a little bit ahead. … that needle has swung both ways,” Cassidy said when asked if Swayman was starting to warrant more starts than Ullmark.
Swayman comes into tonight’s tilt with a 4-2-0 record and a 2.18 GAA and .911 save percentage. Swayman has been dominant on TD Garden ice going 7-0-0 with a 1.13 GAA and a .947 save percentage since being called up from Providence (AHL) last season.
– After scoring two more goals Saturday, Marchand carries a three-game scoring streak into tonight’s game. He has four goals over that span and has eight lamplighters this season. Marchand leads the Bruins in goals, assists (10) and points with 18.
-Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy was an absolute beast on Saturday with three assists and six blocked shots in 23:45 TOI. He also finished a plus 4 and had three shots on the net.
-With Craig Smith still nursing an upper-body injury, Oskar Steen will draw into the Boston Bruins lineup for the second time this season. Steen had an assist in 10:40 TOI in a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on October 24. Curtis Lazar will be a healthy scratch.
-This is the first of four meetings between the Habs and Bruins. The Bruins travel north to the Bell Centre for games on December 18 and January 12 and then host the Canadiens again on March 21.
Montreal Canadiens Notes
–While the Boston Bruins still haven’t established a new starting goalie to succeed Tuukka Rask, the Canadiens have been leaning on their backup from last season, Jake Allen, to fill the net while future hall of famer Carey Price dealt with mental health issues. Allen has struggled to go 4-8-1 with a 2.71 GAA and a .905 save percentage. To make matters worse, Allen was injured in the loss to the Red Wings Saturday. From our man Jon Still with Montreal Hockey Now:
“Allen was removed from the game by concussion spotters and despite clearing concussion protocol did not return. Jonathan Drouin experienced a similar situation against the Red Wings more than 10 days ago. Despite clearing protocol, he has missed the last 6 games now with recurring headaches.”
Cedric Paquette (undisclosed) also remains on injured reserve for the Habs.
-With Allen out, the Canadiens called up former Northeastern goalie Cayden Primeau from Laval (AHL). Allen’s backup, Sam Montembeault, came on in relief when the NHL’s concussion spotter removed Allen from the contest. As of early Sunday afternoon, Head coach Dominique Ducharme had yet to name a starter for the game tonight. He was scheduled to address the media just after 5 PM ET Sunday.
-After a slow start to the season, budding star center Nick Suzuki has caught fire recently with four goals and five assists in his last six games. Suzuki leads the team in assists (10) and points (14) and is tied for the team lead in goals (4) with Mike Hoffman and Ben Chiarot.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall – Charlie Coyle – Nick Foligno
Anton Blidh – Erik Haula – Karson Kuhlman
Jake DeBrusk – Tomáš Nosek – Oskar Steen
Derek Forbort – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Jakub Zboril – Connor Clifton
Montreal Canadiens Lines
Hoffman – Suzuki – Toffoli
Anderson – Dvorak – Gallagher
Lehkonen – Evans – Armia
Pezzetta – Poehling – Belzile
Chiarot – Petry
Kulak – Savard
Romanov – Wideman