Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins

NHL on NBCSN: Canadiens looking to end Bruins’ 12-game win streak


NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Boston Bruins host the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

It’s hard not to talk about the Bruins these days and not wonder about the 12-game winning streak they’re riding into Monday night’s game against the Canadiens.

Boston has been a force of nature in a less-than impressive Eastern Conference this season, and the might they’re flexing lately has shown off all the reasons why they have to be the favorites to wind up in the Stanley Cup Final.

They’re tough defensively, even without key players, and that’s much in part because of the play of Zdeno Chara. Their goaltending has proven to be dynamite through this run as well allowing 17 goals during the streak and putting up two shutouts. Tuukka Rask and Chad Johnson have had a strong season together with Rask being a Vezina candidate.

Then there’s the offense which has lately seen the renaissance of Jarome Iginla. He leads the team in goals with 28 and has 11 goals during the winning streak. After looking a bit off last season with Calgary and Pittsburgh, he’s looking like the Iginla of old. Having him be a factor with the rest of the team doing their usual thing just makes them that more dangerous.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s late NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $350. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The Canadiens have an air of desperation about them. For as comfortable as the Bruins are, the Habs are not. With 85 points they’re one point back of Tampa Bay for second in the Atlantic and five points ahead of Detroit and Toronto. A loss means opening the door for either of those teams to catch up with them and make the playoff race that much more interesting.

Montreal would rather zero in on trying to get home ice in the first round against the Lightning and the play of Thomas Vanek and Max Pacioretty of late is helping that out. Vanek had a hat trick against Colorado last Tuesday and has fit in well on the team’s top line. Pacioretty, meanwhile, has one goal and five points in the past five games.

The real star of late though is P.K. Subban who heads into the game with two goals and 11 points in the past 11 games. His offense from the back end and the way he manages to always draw a crowd provides a spark for the Canadiens. With Carey Price still getting back into the routine after missing time following the Olympics, he’ll have his hands full with the Bruins.

Bruins’ Bergeron not a fan of possible faceoff changes

Patrice Bergeron

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is one of the best faceoff guys in the league, but if the league changes how draws are taken he won’t be a big supporter of it.

Bergeron told Joe Haggerty of that changing the protocol for how to do faceoffs, a change proposed by NHL general managers, doesn’t make sense to him.

“I don’t know if I like that. I think so far it’s been great just the way it is. I don’t know why we need to play with that,” said Bergeron. “It’s a face off, and it’s important to win the draw. I’m not big on it, but I’ll try to get used to whatever rules they implement… just like what they had with the tucked in jerseys.”

Bergeron, who has won 58.9 percent of his draws this season, added that he doesn’t see why it’s a big deal a guy gets thrown out of the circle the first time. He points out that sometimes teams do it to get an extra little bit to rest before play starts again.

Using the jersey tuck rule to make his point is interesting because after all the attention that got at the start of the season, it seems to have worked just fine since players aren’t being called for penalties for violating it. If faceoff changes do happen, players will adapt because they have to or else.

Make it 12 straight wins: Bruins beat Coyotes with strong third period

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The Boston Bruins have recently proven to be unstoppable.

They won their 12th consecutive game, thanks to a huge third period against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night. Jarome Iginla scored twice, giving him 28 goals on the season, and Shawn Thornton deflected home the winner with less than four minutes remaining in the third period to give Boston a 4-2 victory.

Also impressive about Saturday’s win was Boston had played and won the night before on the road against the Colorado Avalanche to clinch a playoff spot. But 11 straight wins … that was so yesterday.

On Friday, it was back-up Chad Johnson who helped lead the Bruins to a victory. On Saturday against the Coyotes, Tuukka Rask was back between the pipes, and he made 31 saves for the win.

The Bruins are now up to an NHL best 103 points. As for the Coyotes, well, the loss makes things even more interesting in the Western Conference playoff race.

They remain in the second Wild Card spot with 79 points. However, the Dallas Stars, thanks to their win over the Ottawa Senators earlier in the day, moved to within two points of the Coyotes. Even the Vancouver Canucks, with 74 points, are still hanging around, but just barely.

For a full look at the Western Conference standings, click on this link.

Video: Avalanche blue liner Benoit makes the save on Bruins’ empty-net attempt

Washington Capitals v Colorado Avalanche
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Colorado Avalanche defenseman Andre Benoit saved what could’ve been a sure goal with a rather unconventional save.

Benoit threw himself in front of a Jarome Iginla empty-net attempt late in the third period of Friday’s game between the Avalanche and Boston Bruins. With the Avalanche down a pair of goals, and their net empty with Patrick Roy pulling Semyon Varlamov for the extra attacker, the Benoit save at least gave his team an extended chance at perhaps getting a goal to get back in this one.

In the end, however, the Bruins withstood any Colorado attack in the third period for a 2-0 victory. It’s Boston’s 11th consecutive win, which helped them clinch a playoff berth.

Bruins defeat Avalanche, win 11th straight game and clinch a playoff spot

Boston Bruins v Colorado Avalanche

The Boston Bruins have clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs – thanks to their 11th consecutive victory.

Yes, they have won 11 straight games and, with this latest run, have to be considered the favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference later in the spring. The Bruins – Stanley Cup champions in 2011 and finalists in 2013 – held on to defeat the Colorado Avalanche by a final score of 2-0 on Friday night.

Patrice Bergeron and Carl Soderberg provided all the offence the Bruins would need.

They would fend off the charges of the Avalanche, which included head coach Patrick Roy pulling Semyon Varlamov for the extra attacker with about five minutes remaining in the third period.

As per, the Bruins would’ve clinch a post-season berth with any win over the Avalanche, or if they got a single point against Colorado and the New York Rangers lost in regulation to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

OK. The Rangers limited the options with their victory over Columbus earlier. But the Bruins didn’t seem to care about the scenarios. All they did was win. All they’ve been doing is winning.