Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens

Get your game notes: Bruins at Canadiens


Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Montreal Canadiens hosting the Boston Bruins starting at 7 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Tonight, the Canadiens will host the Bruins in a playoff game for the 88th time. The Habs hold a 64-23 edge on home ice, but have taken only eight of 15 games vs. Boston since moving into the Bell Centre in 1996. The Bruins have won four of five postseason games in Montreal since 2009.

• With the N.Y. Rangers’ loss in Game 3 vs. Pittsburgh, the Canadiens enter tonight’s game as the only team this postseason not to have trailed in games in any series. In fact, the Habs have only trailed within a game on four occasions this postseason. (See table.) They hadn’t trailed by more than one goal at any point until Milan Lucic scored an empty-netter to give the Bruins a 5-3 lead with 1:06 left in Game 2.

• The Bruins came back from two-goal deficits in each of the first two games this series (2-0 in Game 1 and 3-1 in Game 2). In this postseason of two-goal comebacks (18, of which 11 resulted in wins), the Bruins became the only team to do so in consecutive games.

• Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara logged a game-high 26:59 time on ice, assisted on the game-winning goal by Reilly Smith and was on the ice for all five Boston goals (and two Montreal power-play goals). His +5 rating matched a career high, accomplished twice in the regular season with Ottawa (Jan. 24, 2004 vs. NYR; Feb. 28, 2004 vs. BUF).

• In Game 2, the Bruins exploded for four goals in the final 9:04 to rebound from a 3-1 deficit to post their first-ever regulation victory in a postseason game when trailing by two goals in the final 10 minutes. Elias Sports Bureau The first three goals came with Canadiens goaltender Carey Price in net. Price has arguably been the Canadiens’ best player through two games, but the third period has not been a charm.

• Canadiens winger Thomas Vanek rebounded from his zero point-zero shots on goal performance in Game 1 to score two power-play goals in Game 2. In 60 career regular-season and playoff games vs. Boston, Vanek has 34 goals, 33 assists and 67 points, with Buffalo (31-29–60 in 53 games), the N.Y. Islanders (1-3–4 in 3 games) and Montreal (2-1–3 in 4 games).

• The Bruins’ second line of Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith led the way for Boston in the first two games of the series, combining for nine points (three goals, six assists) on 18 shots on goal. During that span, the B’s first line of Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla combined for only three points (one empty-net goal, two assists) on 15 shots.

The Panthers are healthy scratching Bolland, and he is their highest-paid forward, but they insist they’re not sending a message

Dave Bolland, Derek Nansen
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It feels like there’s a story brewing in Florida, where Dave Bolland — the team’s most-expensive forward, at $5.5 million a season — has been a healthy scratch for three consecutive games.

But according to head coach Gerard Gallant, there’s nothing to see here. Move along.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Gallant said, per the Miami Herald. “He sat out, our team is playing well. There’s nothing more than that. We have to sit two guys and I like the way we’re playing. The next game is a different game. We may change something up, who knows.”

Bolland had just one goal and five points in 18 games prior to getting parked in the press box. Well, technically he got dropped to the fourth line before hitting the press box, but you get the idea. He’s not exactly in Gallant’s good graces.

Not helping Bolland’s case is the fact that, as Gallant pointed out, the club is playing pretty well without him. The Panthers have rebounded from a rough start to November by winning back-to-back games against the Islanders and Red Wings, which set them up nicely for the remainder of this current five-game road swing.

Florida has games still to play in St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus and New Jersey. It’ll be interesting to see when — or, if — he draws back into the lineup.

In closing, a reminder that Bolland’s in the second of a five-year, $27.5 million deal.

Canucks rookie Virtanen exits with upper-body injury, won’t return


After sitting out Friday’s game in Dallas, Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen had to be excited at drawing back in for tonight’s game against the Ducks.

Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long.

Virtanen suffered an upper-body injury after playing just 1:45 in the opening frame, and was ruled out of the contest during the intermission. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but it looks like Virtanen was injured on a hit by Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

Virtanen didn’t take another shift following the incident, and Getzlaf was given a minor penalty on the play.

While we don’t know what the injury is or it’s severity, losing Virtanen for any length of time would have ramifications for the Canucks and this year’s Canadian entry at the World Juniors. There has been talk of Virtanen possibly being released by the Canucks to participate in the tournament; last year, he was part of the team that captured gold in Montreal and Toronto.

Virtanen has played in 18 games for the Canucks this year, scoring one goal and four points while averaging 10:17 TOI per night.

McLellan sounds off on Oilers after shutout loss in Toronto

Todd McLellan

Edmonton lost for the fourth time in five games on Monday, a 3-0 defeat in Toronto that marked the second time in a week the Oilers have been shut out.

Needless to say, the head coach wasn’t happy.

In a fairly blunt and harsh assessment aimed at a variety of players, Todd McLellan had some choice words for what he called a “disappointing” effort.

Some of the more choice quotes:

“I didn’t think we were a very hard team. I didn’t think we stood over a lot of pucks. I didn’t think we won a lot of battles along the boards. I didn’t think we were competitive enough in a lot of areas.”

“When I look at the trip as a whole, we had some key, key people really under-perform on the trip. Significant minus numbers, not hitting the score sheet. It can’t always be the [Leon DraisaitlTaylor Hall line] that provides that.”

It’s fair to suggest that last one was directed at Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.

Nugent-Hopkins has just two points and zero goals in his last five games, with a minus-8 rating. Eberle is pointless entirely, and also at minus-8 over the same stretch.

They’re hardly the only Oilers not pulling their weight at the moment, however. Edmonton has lost 15 times in its first 25 games, a figure that suggests there are more problems that just a couple of underachieving forwards.

Just ask McLellan, who all but admitted his team has issues matching up.

“We’re not where we need to be,” he said. “We’ve got work to do as a team, work to do as an organization to get bigger, stronger, harder, and physically win more battles than we lose.”

Roy: Avs ‘need, expect more’ from Varlamov


The tough times continue for Semyon Varlamov.

After another unsuccessful outing on Monday — allowing four goals on 27 shots in a loss to the Islanders — Varlamov was subjected to a familiar refrain: Patrick Roy saying the Avs need more from their No. 1 netminder.


You can hear all of the head coach’s comments in the video above but, for brevity’s sake, here’s the Varlamov stuff:

“It’s not easy for him. Obviously we need that extra save and we didn’t get it on the road. It’s hard to win if you’re giving four goals on the road.

“We just need more from him. He’s our No. 1 guy and we’re behind him, but we need, we expect more from him.”

There has to be serious concern about Varlamov right now, if there wasn’t already.

His save percentage through seven games in November (.891) is marginally better than it was through seven games in October (.889), and that’s not the only alarming stat. Varlamov’s yet to record a shutout this year, yet to record back-to-back victories and has given up at least three goals in six of his last seven starts.

Not good.

Compounding things for Colorado are the standings. The Avs are now 9-14-1 and mired in the Central Division basement, meaning that — if they have any hope of going on a tear and getting back into playoff content — they’ll need to do it soon.

Which means they might not have the time, or the patience, for Varlamov to find his game.