Here’s your Boston Hockey Now Boston Bruins Game Day Preview:
Boston Bruins (48-25-5, 101 pts) vs Montreal Canadiens (20-48-11, 51 pts)
TIME: 7:00 PM ET
TV: NESN, TSN2, RDS
Boston Bruins fans prepare yourself for reliving arguably the worst on-ice moment in team history tonight when the Bruins play the Montreal Canadiens in the first game at the Bell Centre since Canadiens legend and hall of famer Guy Lafleur passed away this past Friday.
Ironically, not only will the two longtime rivals meet two days after Lafleur passed away but they will also do it in Game 79 (1979) for the Boston Bruins. We’ll get to my betting predictions below but if there’s some way to bet on a Too Many Men On The Ice penalty being called against the Boston Bruins tonight, you might want to bet on it!
— MurphysLaw74 (@MurphysLaw74) April 24, 2022
A full Boston Bruins roster earned two crucial points in a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers Saturday. With David Pastrnak (1g, 1a Saturday), Hampus Lindholm, and Linus Ullmark back, the Bruins finally looked like the Bruins squad that marched through the first three months of the 2022 portion of the season to the tune of 28-10-3, not like the one that was 5-6-0 in April heading into the game Saturday. However, they will be without Pastrnak and Lindholm again Sunday night in Montreal as head coach Bruce Cassidy begins the load management heading into the final week of the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“Pastrnak’s not at home today because he’s injured, he’s at home because that’s how they determined him and Lindholm would only play one of the back to backs, so he’s feeling good,” Cassidy told the media Sunday morning.
The Boston Bruins will enter tonight’s tilt with the Habs with 101 points and two points ahead of the Washington Capitals for the first wild card slot in the Eastern Conference. They were also three points shy of the Tampa Bay Lightning for third place in the Atlantic Division. However, the Lightning (at Florida Panthers), and Capitals (vs Toronto Maple Leafs), also play at 7 PM ET tonight.
The Montreal Canadiens come into the game riding an eight-game losing streak and have been outscored 34-14 during their latest skid. They’re now assured a top 3 pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. However, with a pre-game ceremony honoring Lafleur and a packed and raucous Bell Centre, the Habs players will be treating this game as the game of the season and want to do all they can to honor their fallen legend with a win.
Jeremy Swayman will be back between the pipes tonight for the Boston Bruins. Swayman was brilliant in his first ever game at the Bell Centre on March 21, allowing two goals on 28 shots in a 3-2 overtime win for the Boston Bruins. Swayman is 22-13-3 with a 2.35 GAA and .916 save percentage.
Samuel Montembeault will get the nod for the Canadiens tonight. Montemebault is 7-17-6 with a 3.78 GAA and .891 save percentage.
Betting: As mentioned above, you can throw out the standings and records for this game. This is going to be all about emotions and how each team channels them. One thing is certain, the Montreal Canadiens are going to be revved up to start this game after they honor Lafleur and will throw everything but the kitchen sink at the Bruins. Also, the Bruins will be missing Pastrnak and Lindholm again and will likely go back to a conservative approach. So the suggestion here is to take the Canadiens first period MONEY LINE (+390). We’re also liking the OVER 6 (-105), and given the Lafleur irony we mentioned above, this game has to go to OT eh? Sprinkle a bit on the DRAW (+330).
Prediction: Bruins 4 Candiens 3 (OT)
Boston Bruins Notes
-Brad Marchand is mired in one of the worst slumps in recent memory with no goals in his last ten games and just three assists during that stretch.
-Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron is also struggling as of late with just two goals and two assists in his last 11 games.
Montreal Canadiens Notes
-Nick Suzuki leads the Canadiens in assists (38) and points (58), and is tied with Cole Caufield in goals with 20.
-Speaking of Caufield, if the voting for the Calder Trophy began February 9, he would be the runaway winner. Since the Canadiens hired Martin St. Louis on Feb. 9, Caufield has 19 goals and 13 assists in 34 games.
-Since returning to the lineup on April 15, Carey Price has struggled. To his credit though, the team in front of him has been atrocious. Price comes into the game at 0-4-0 with a 4.03 GAA and .853 save percentage.
Boston Bruins Lineup:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron– Jake DeBrusk
Taylor Hall – Erik Haula – Tomáš Nosek/Marc McLaughlin
Trent Frederic – Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith
Nick Foligno – Tomáš Nosek/Marc McLaughlin – Curtis Lazar
Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly – Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort – Connor Clifton
Montreal Canadiens Lineup:
Cole Caufield-Nick Suzuki–Josh Anderson
Mike Hoffman-Christian Dvorak-Brendan Gallagher
Rem Pitlick-Jake Evans-Mathieu Perreault
Michael Pezzetta-Ryan Poehling-Tyler Pitlick
Alexander Romanov-David Savard
Joel Edmundson-Jeff Petry
Jordan Harris-Chris Wideman