Henrik Lundqvist

Lundqvist going for first win in Montreal since 2009

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Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is one of the main reason the New York Rangers have gotten to the Eastern Conference Final. If they are going to get any further though, Lundqvist will need to do better at Montreal’s Bell Centre than he has in quite a while.

Lundqvist has a career 3.87 GAA and .876 save percentage there and hasn’t won in Montreal since March 17, 2009, per Newsday.

“It’s so long since I’ve played there, I don’t really remember,” Lundqvist said.

He’s right. He hasn’t played there in over two years as both former coach John Tortorella and current bench boss Alain Vigneault have exclusively used their backup goaltenders in Montreal for the last two seasons.

“It just happened that way,” Vigneault said.

The Canadiens have home ice advantage in the upcoming series, so Lundqvist will get his first chance in a while to end that slump on Saturday (1:00 p.m. ET, NBC).

Montreal sells out Bell Centre for Game 7

HabsSalute
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Even though tonight’s Game 7 between the Bruins and Canadiens is being played at TD Garden, the Bell Centre will still be rocking.

The Habs have sold out their barn — all 21,273 seats — for Wednesday’s win-or-go-home contest, according to NHL.com. The game will be played on the Bell Centre scoreboard video screen, much like it was four years ago when the Canadiens made a surprising run to the Eastern Conference finals.

The Canadiens did the same thing for the two seventh games they played in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the reaction was just as enthusiastic; the game sold out in less than two hours at $10 a ticket.

“I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but I still am,” Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher said. “It’s just the passion that comes with the Montreal Canadiens fans.

“Obviously we care a lot in this room, but they care a lot as well about the logo and the history and everything that comes with it.”

Tonight’s contest is the ninth Game 7 between Boston and Montreal in 34 all-time playoff series. Montreal holds a 5-3 edge in wins but the Bruins are 3-2 all-time at home, which includes the 2011 opening round in which Nathan Horton scored in OT to send Boston onto Round 2.

Your Boston-Montreal Game 7 officials are…

NHL referees
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The officiating crew for tonight’s huge Game 7 at TD Garden will be comprised of referees Dave Jackson and Dan O’Rourke, along with linesmen Shane Heyer and Brad Kovachik.

Some notes about the zebras…

— This is the second game of the series for Jackson and O’Rourke, having previously called Game 2,  a 5-3 Bruins win. The game was a testy affair which saw three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, one for abusive language (from the B’s bench) and an opening period that saw both teams combine for eight minors.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien wasn’t thrilled with how the game was called, per the Boston Globe:

But it was also very rare to see Julien, typically the picture of reserve, get all huffed up during a game, to the point he was slapped with that minor penalty. The Habs had just moved ahead, 2-1, on the first of two Thomas Vanek strikes, the first of his two power-play strikes, and Julien grew a little too pointed with the referees (Dave Jackson and Dan O’Rourke).

Penalty, two minutes: uncoachmanlike conduct.

“The referee . . . ” explained Julien, not naming which referee, “ . . . I kind of told him I didn’t agree with his calls.”

— Jackson and O’Rourke have worked one Game 7 already this postseason (L.A.’s 5-1 win over San Jose). That one was a relatively muted affair; there were no penalties called in the first period and just nine all game, four of which were hooking calls.

— O’Rourke was one of four referees chosen to call the 2012 Stanley Cup Final between Los Angeles and New Jersey; Jackson is one of the league’s most veteran officials, having broke in during the 1990-91 season and calling his first playoff game in ’99. Jackson was also chosen to officiate games for the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Canadiens’ Beaulieu will make career playoff debut tonight

Nathan Beaulieu

Boston Bruins forward Matt Fraser played in his first career postseason game on Thursday and ended up scoring the game-winning goal in overtime. With their backs against the wall, the Montreal Canadiens have to hope that 21-year-old defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will be at least respectable.

Like Fraser before him, Beaulieu will be making his NHL playoff debut tonight. The difference is that the stakes are even higher now as Montreal is down 3-2 in the second round series.

Beaulieu has 23 games worth of regular season experience and has four assists over that span. He also had seven goals and 27 points in 57 contests with the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs in 2013-14.

He’s projected to play alongside Mike Weaver, per the Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa. Douglas Murray has been scratched after logging just 10:03 minutes in Game 5 on Saturday.

Update: Montreal has also confirmed that Daniel Briere is back in at the expense of Travis Moen.

Get your game notes: Bruins at Canadiens

Zdeno Chara,  Travis Moen
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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Montreal Canadiens hosting the Boston Bruins starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— With a win tonight, Boston will advance to the Conference Finals for the 2nd straight year & the 3rd time in the last 4 seasons. Prior to their recent run, the Bruins hadn’t reached the Conference Finals since 1991-92, the end of a 5-year stretch in which they made the Conference Finals 3 straight seasons & 4 of those 5 years (1987-88 – Lost SC, 1989-90 – Lost SC, 1990-91 – Lost Conf. Finals, 1991-92 – Lost Conf. Finals).

— Matt Fraser scored the game-winner in Gm 4 for the Bruins & Carl Soderberg opened the scoring in Gm 5 for Boston with his first-ever postseason goal. Despite the Bruins top line – Milan Lucic, David Krejci & Jarome Iginla – not producing at a high level this series, Boston’s 2nd & 3rd lines have come to play against Montreal:

source:

— The Bruins 3rd line (Fraser – Soderberg – Eriksson) combined for 2goals-4assists in Game 5.
— Krejci, the league’s scoring leader 2 of the last 3 playoffs, has 0goals-1assist in the series.
— Smith leads BOS in goals (3) this series; Marchand/Soderberg lead BOS in points (5) this series.

— Montreal is 1-3 in their last 4 elimination games. In the last postseason series between the Canadiens & Bruins (2010-11 first round), Montreal won the first 2 games of the series (at BOS) then went on to lose 3 straight games before a Canadiens victory forced a Game 7 which Boston won at home, 4-3 in OT.

  • Boston is 20-4 all-time in Game 6s when holding a 3-2 series lead.

— Reilly Smith & Jarome Iginla scored power-play goals 32 seconds apart in the opening 1:36 of the second period in Game 5; the Bruins were 0-8 with the man advantage in the first 4 games of the series. Entering Game 5, Montreal had allowed only 2 power-play goals this entire postseason on 15 opportunities. Smith’s goal also snapped the Bruin’s postseason PP drought vs. the Canadiens going back to a Michael Ryder goal in Game 2 of the 2008-09 first round; Boston was 0-38 on the PP vs. Montreal in playoff competition between those 2 goals.

—  Tuukka Rask leads all goalies in GAA (1.70) & SV% (.940) this postseason & is tied in wins with 7 (Fleury – PIT, Lundqvist – NYR, Crawford – CHI). After allowing a total of 6 goals in 5 gms in the 1st Round, Rask allowed 3+ goals in each of Games 1-3 in this series but has since stopped 62 of 64 shots in the last 2 games.

  • Montreal is still the highest scoring team this postseason (3.22 goals/game) but only produced a total of 2 goals in the last 2 games after scoring 3+ goals in each of their first 7 games this postseason.

—  The team to score first has won each game in this series. Boston is 6-0 this postseason when scoring first; Montreal is 5-0. The Bruins were 41-6-2 (.857) during the regular season when scoring first. The Canadiens were 37-5-3 (.856) when scoring first during the regular season.

— P.K. Subban posted another goal in Game 5, his 4th of this postseason (all this series). He leads the Canadiens, and all defensemen, in these playoffs in scoring (12 points – 5th in playoffs). He has 4goals-3assists in this series.