WATCH LIVE: Bruins host Canadiens on NBCSN

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Monday night’s matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins with coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

This will be the 746th regular season game between the Canadiens and Bruins. Montreal has won 361 times to Boston’s 281, while there have been 103 ties. These two teams have played more than any other teams in the NHL.

Both teams enter Monday’s matchup playing well. The Bruins have won six of their last seven games, including a 3-2 win at Toronto on Saturday night. Trailing 2-1, Boston scored two straight goals near the end of the secnd period and held off the Maple Leafs in the third to secure the win. The Canadiens kicked off a run of three games in four days on Saturday night with a 3-0 win vs the Avalanche. Carey Price stopped 28 shots to earn his third shutout of the season. It was just the secnd time Colorado has been shut out all season (first time since Oct.).

One of the biggest reasons for the Bruins’ recent success has been the play of goalie Tuukka Rask, who has emerged as the clear top choice between the pipes. Rask is 5-0-0, with a 1.38 goals against average, .955 save percentage and a shutout in his last five starts. His next win will tie him with Tiny Thompson for most wins by a goalie in franchise history.

The Canadiens power play continued to struggle in the 3-0 win vs. the Avalanche. Montreal went 0-for-3 with the man advantage to bring their total to 1-for-20 in the last seven games. They rank last in the NHL in power play percentage, converting on just 12.5 percent of their chances. Head coach Claude Julien also switched up the power-play units hoping to find a solution for the team’s struggles.

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 6:30 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

What: Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins
Where: TD Garden
When: Monday, Jan. 14, 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: You can watch the Canadiens-Bruins stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

CANADIENS
Jonathan DrouinPhilip DanaultBrendan Gallagher
Artturi LehkonenMax DomiJoel Armia
Tomas TatarJesperi KotkaniemiPaul Byron
Kenny AgostinoMichael ChaputNicolas Deslauriers

Victor MeteShea Weber
Mike ReillyJeff Petry
Brett KulakJordie Benn

Starting goalie: Carey Price

BRUINS
Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak
Jake DeBruskDavid KrejciDavid Backes
Sean KuralyNoel AcciariChris Wagner
Danton HeinenJakob Forsbacka KarlssonRyan Donato

Zdeno CharaCharlie McAvoy
Torey KrugBrandon Carlo
Matt GrzelcykKevan Miller

Starting goalie: Tuukka Rask

John Forslund (play-by-play), AJ Mleczko (analyst) and Brian Boucher (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from TD Garden in Boston, Mass.

The Buzzer: Seguin again; Karlsson keeps cooking

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Three Stars

1. Blake Wheeler

By my most recent count, there were 12 skaters who generated at least three points on Tuesday, so sussing out three stars is especially difficult. (At least the goalies mostly cooperated, as Tuukka Rask‘s shutout was of the modest, 24-save variety.)

Wheeler is the one player whose night stood out the most, as he topped everyone with four points: one goal and three assists. His goal was a) shorthanded and b) one of the best highlights of the night, throwing two cherries on top.

Two of Wheeler’s Jets teammates hit three points in Winnipeg’s win, as well, as both Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba enjoyed one-goal, two-assist performances.

2. Tyler Seguin

In determining the other two stars, let’s go with the most exciting stories. This is highly subjective, so feel free to close your eyes and picture your choices taking up these spots, instead.

(Going to stand my ground about Wheeler, though. That’s math for you.)

Seguin remains red-hot, with the only drawback being that a ton of people are probably going to give profanity-laced CEO directives the credit, rather than a prodigiously talented player who’s finally getting the bounces we’ve been wah-wah-ing about.

The Stars star extended his point streak to six games with two goals and an assist. Seguin’s generated six goals and four assists during that span, with half of those games including multi-point efforts.

3. Erik Karlsson

Seguin gets the edge because two of his three points were goals, while all three of Karlsson’s points were assists. But Karlsson is going to ratchet up his Norris Trophy hype considering just how scorching his streak really is.

Karlsson now has a 14-game assist streak, joining a ridiculous group of scoring defensemen that only includes Bobby Orr, Paul Coffey, Phil Housley, and Brian Leetch. Expanding out, he’s only the 13th defenseman to generate a point streak of at least 14 games, and just the sixth since 1990-91.

Karlsson’s plus/minus ended up being +3 in this one, he generated five shots on goal, and logged 23:45 of ice time, so this was quite the all-around effort. The Sharks are really heating up, and it’s no coincidence that Karlsson and Brent Burns are leading the charge.

Again, Tuesday was brimming with other worthy runners-up. Sharks forward Evander Kane was one of the other players who generated three points, by the way.

Highlights

Again, that Blake Wheeler SHG was sweet. Scheifele deserves serious kudos here, too, naturally.

What do you get when you combine a figure skater with a high-end sniper? You get Jeff Skinner, who’s going to get paid.

Andreas Athanasiou provided some sweet sniping, particularly on the first of his two goals (jump in around the 1:10 mark to see it develop):

More Factoids

Scores

BOS 4 – MIN 0
BUF 5 – NJD 1
CAR 4 – NYI 3
PIT 5 – FLA 1
WSH 5 – PHI 3
MTL 3 – DET 2
TBL 4 – CBJ 0
DAL 3 – STL 1
WPG 7 – COL 4
VGK 4 – NYR 2
SJS 7 – EDM 2

(Seems like quite a busy night to have no overtime, eh?)

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

The Buzzer: Goalies rule New Year’s Day

Associated Press
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Three stars

1. Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators

The Preds needed a turnaround and found one on New Year’s Eve in a 6-3 win against the Washington Capitals.

Twenty-four hours later and now in 2019, Nashville kept the winning train rolling and a big part of that was thanks to Saros, who made 32 saves for his second shutout of the season in a 4-0 win against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Saros hasn’t been at the expected level many pegged him to be at this year, but he was certainly on point in Tuesday’s game, producing several stellar saves to keep the Flyers at bay.

2. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

Rask turned aside 36 shots to win the 2019 NHL Winter Classic in a 4-2 triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Rask’s up-and-down season was at one of its peaks in this game. He looked solid and didn’t flutter when the Blackhawks opened the scoring in the first period and took a 2-1 lead in the second.

He made 15 saves in the second period to keep Boston in it and stopped all six shots he faced on four Chicago power plays.

Rask has now won back to back starts

3. Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights

Vegas is back. Like really back. And so is Fleury, how has been nothing short of magnificent as he’s led his team back to arm’s reach of the Western Conference summit.

Fleury wasn’t particularly busy on Tuesday — he made 17 saves is a 2-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Kings — but when he was called upon, he was up to the task.

Vegas is now 5-0-2 in their past seven games, have won four straight and Fleury has is 6-0-3 in his past nine starts. All that talk about Vegas regressing was true, but only for a moment, it seems.

Fleury leads the NHL in wins (23) and shutouts (6) this season.

Highlights of the night

Here’s the extended highlight pack from Tuesday’s Winter Classic at Notre Dame.

Patrice Bergeron‘s backcheck to stop a shorthanded breakaway produced some good karma that he cashed in at the other end moments later:

The fall seen around the hockey world:

Factoids

Scores

Bruins 4, Blackhawks 2

Predators 4, Flyers 0

Golden Knights 2, Kings 0


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

 

Bruins beat Blackhawks in 2019 Winter Classic

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Aside from a slipping mascot or two, everything came together just about perfectly heading into the 2019 Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium. Luckily, the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins delivered some fantastic hockey after all of that pomp, circumstance, and pyro.

The Bruins ended up winning the Winter Classic 4-2 in one of the best-played outdoor games, kicking off 2019 in such a great way that even Blackhawks fans can remember it as a good time.

Although, we might also be getting to the point where someone may float some talk of an outdoor “curse” for the Blackhawks:

An empty-netter inflated the difference between the two teams, as this was a competitive contest, and if the conditions limited the skill on display in any way, the impact was subtle. The pace was fabulous, and the goalies had to be too, as the two teams combined for 74 shots on goal.

In some outdoor games, you’ll see some unlikely heroes, and the 2019 Winter Classic did not disappoint in that regard.

To start, Brendan Perlini began the scoring to give Chicago a 1-0 lead. Dominik Kahun also restored a Blackhawks lead to 2-1, but it was a lesser-known Bruin who made the difference, as Sean Kuraly batted home a loose puck with his backhand to extend his game-winning goal streak to two games.

As you’d expect from one of the best top lines in hockey, the Bruins enjoyed some strong work from their top guys, too.

David Pastrnak scored a goal and an assist, Brad Marchand nabbed that empty-netter, and Patrice Bergeron was, well, Patrice Bergeron. In one of the turning points of the game, Bergeron defused a David Kampf shorthanded breakaway chance, then scored on the power play:

There were plenty of “that’s why Bergeron owns the Selke”-type responses to that great two-way sequence, and those takes are pretty much undeniable.

While the Bruins’ power play connected on its first two power-play opportunities, the Blackhawks can take some solace in their penalty kill coming through during the third period. Boston received a hearty 5-on-3 opportunity and another power play soon after, yet they could not break the 2-2 tie.

Kuraly’s alert goal ended up being the difference, anyway, but at least Chicago could take something from this loss.

Both teams likely hope the veteran goalies might build some confidence. Tuukka Rask made 36 saves in the win, while Cam Ward enjoyed one of his better appearances since joining the Blackhawks, stopping 32 of 35 shots.

Overall, you can’t really ask for a much better NHL game considering the unpredictable nature of … nature. And yes, it’s OK to have the Notre Dame fight song in your head for the rest of the day.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Blackhawks, Bruins enter Winter Classic to Notre Dame fight song

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When you hear about Notre Dame Stadium hosting the 2019 Winter Classic, a lot of images come to mind. Hockey being played with “Touchdown Jesus” in the background. A leprechaun or two.

But, as much as anything else, it seems like it would be cool to see (and hear) the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins enter the stadium to the sound of Notre Dame’s iconic fight song.

It turns out that … yes, that ends up being an incredibly cool way to set the scene as we enter 2019. Check that moment in the video above this post’s headline, possibly with goosebumps.

[WATCH LIVE ON NBC]

That fight song moment was special, but it wasn’t the only treat heading into the contest. Blackhawks anthem singer Jim Cornelison’s booming voice really brings big games to another level, and he didn’t disappoint in the open air:

Also of note: Tim Brown dropped the ceremonial puck:

So, there were a lot of pitch-perfect moments heading into the 2019 Winter Classic, yet exposing yourself to the elements sometimes means opening the door for mishaps. Credit Notre Dame’s leprechaun mascot for taking losing his stride in stride, then:

Ah, good times.

Speaking of leprechauns working through new moves, well, Jeremy Roenick trying his hand at Irish step dancing is quite something:

MORE:

Winter Classic Preview

By the Numbers

Reimagining Bruins, Blackhawks as football teams

Tuukka Rask’s thematic mask

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.