The Toronto Maple Leafs outshot the Montreal Canadiens 22-11 over the first 40 minutes of Saturday’s game and still entered the third period down 2-0. In the end, Montreal earned a 4-0 victory.
Goaltender Carey Price naturally deserves a lot of the credit as he turned aside 30 shots to earn his sixth shutout of the season and 31st of his career. This was also his 36th victory, which is tied for the most wins for any Canadiens goaltender through 50 games played, per the NHL’s Communications Department. The only Montreal netminder to match that feat was Ken Dryden in 1976-77.
With a 41-16-5 record, Montreal sits atop the Eastern Conference standings and Price is the single biggest reason for that. He leads the league with a 1.88 GAA and .936 save percentage.
Goaltenders rarely win the Hart Trophy, with Montreal’s Jose Theodore being the last one to accomplish that feat in 2001–02, but Price might follow in his footsteps. Along with New York Islanders forward John Tavares, Price was recently listed as a favorite to win the award by online bookmaker Bovada.
The Montreal Canadiens could get veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar and veteran forward P.A. Parenteau back in the lineup Saturday, according to multiple reports.
On Friday, the Habs sent blue liner Jarred Tinordi and forward Christian Thomas to the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL. Those transactions appear to be paving the way for Gonchar and Parenteau to get back in game action, with the Habs hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
Gonchar hasn’t played since Feb. 14, when he was slammed from behind into the boards by former Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson. Of course, Clarkson was traded to Columbus on Thursday.
Parenteau last played Jan. 15 and has been dealing with concussion issues.
A couple of Olympic gold-medal winners will be between the pipes tonight in Montreal, where the Canadiens’ Carey Price will be staring down the Bell Centre ice at the Panthers’ Roberto Luongo.
Both Canadian netminders are enjoying excellent seasons. Price is a serious Hart Trophy candidate, while Luongo has helped keep Florida in the playoff race with a .920 save percentage in 46 appearances.
With a win, the Panthers would move to within one point of the Bruins for the final wild-card spot in the East.
So let’s hear those “Go Habs Go” chants, Boston sports fans!
Jaroslav Halak will look to rebound from a shaky performance versus the Rangers when the Islanders host the Predators, who are likely to go with Pekka Rinne.
Cam Talbot for the Rangers versus Ryan Miller for the Canucks.
Curtis McElhinney for the Blue Jackets versus Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.
Ondrej Pavelec will see his first action in a week when the Jets visit Washington to take on Braden Holtby and the Capitals.
Michal Neuvirth for the Sabres versus Ray Emery for the Flyers.
Antti Niemi for the Sharks versus Kari Lehtonen (likely) for the Stars.
After losing to the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the 2014 playoffs, the Boston Bruins couldn’t weren’t able to get revenge at any point during the 2014-15 campaign. Montreal earned a 3-1 victory against Boston tonight to complete their 4-0-0 sweep of the regular season series.
As was the case in the previous two meetings, Carey Price stood tall against the Bruins. He kicked out 34 of 35 shots, frustrating Boston’s shooters all game. It wasn’t until 15:29 of the third period that 18-year-old David Pastrnak just barely beat the Canadiens goaltender by knocking the bouncing puck towards the crease.
That ended Price’s shutout streak against the Bruins at 159:25 minutes, per Boston’s Twitter feed. It gave the Bruins hope in the final minutes of the game, but Boston couldn’t even things. Instead, Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov fired on the empty net with 31 seconds left in regulation time to give Montreal all the insurance it needed.
Max Pacioretty also came up big for the Canadiens tonight with an assist and the game-winning goal on a breakway.
Although the books are closed on the regular season meetings between Boston and Montreal, we might not have to wait much longer to view the next chapter of this rivalry. It’s entirely possible that the Bruins will end up facing the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. Of course, for that to happen, Boston needs to hold onto its postseason spot. With a 28-18-7 record, the Bruins have a six-point cushion in the Wild Card race.
The Boston Bruins have been on fire lately with a 9-2-1 record, but that hasn’t been enough to undo all the damage from their early season struggles. They currently hold the second Wild Card spot and have a long climb ahead of them if they want to secure the home ice advantage in the first round. Of more immediate concern though is the fact that their playoff spot is far from guaranteed.
So the stakes are high for the Bruins as they go into this rivalry game against the Montreal Canadiens. Even if they weren’t though, this would be a contest that the Bruins would desperately love to win. Montreal has already beaten Boston three times this season and this is the Bruins’ last chance to avoid the series sweep.
The contest will start at 7:30 p.m. ET and can be viewed on NBCSN. You can also stream it on to NBC Sports Live Extra.
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Here are some related links:
Price protection? Therrien says running over goalies ‘has to stop’
Bruins’ second D pair of Seidenberg-McQuaid is an issue
NHL on NBCSN: The Bruins look to avoid a fourth straight loss vs. Montreal