TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.
Coming off their best month in more than 13 years, the Montreal Canadiens look to extend their winning streak to a season-high six straight games and continue a playoff push when they host the Boston Bruins.
With 83 points, the Canadiens are in a three-way tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with Tampa Bay and New Jersey. Each team has nine games remaining.
Montreal plays six of its remaining games at the Bell Centre, including two straight against the Bruins. The Canadiens have won a season-high four straight at home, outscoring their opponents 16-5.
Montreal closed out March with a 10-5-1 record, marking its best month since January 1993 when it went 10-4-1 and later went on to win its last Stanley Cup.
The Canadiens have won four of five games against Boston this season, as goaltender Cristobal Huet has two straight shutouts against the Bruins.
Huet stopped 35 shots in Montreal's 2-0 win on Feb. 4, had 28 saves in the Canadiens 3-0 win on March 9 and has six shutouts on the season tying him with Manny Legace of Detroit for second in the league.
Huet has a 1.23 goals-against average in his last four starts and made 27 saves in Montreal's 3-2 overtime victory Thursday over Washington.
Saku Koivu scored his first goal in more than two months for the game-winner, and has a five-game point streak with a goal and seven assists in those games.
"Don't get me wrong. Its nice to finally get it out of the way, but I cant say its been bothering me that much especially over the last couple of weeks," said Koivu of his 23-game goal-scoring drought. "With the team playing as well as it has of late, that's all that really matters to me."
Rookie Chris Higgins scored two goals on Thursday, and has a three-game goal-scoring streak with five goals in that span.
The Bruins lost to Buffalo 4-3 on Wednesday, for their fifth loss in six games.
Marty Reasoner, David Tanabe and Brad Stuart scored but Boston managed just three shots in the third period.
The Bruins dropped to 13-27 in games decided by one goal and are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
"We seem to have a lot of one-goal games and unfortunately we end up on the wrong side of them," defenseman Nick Boynton said. "We're right there but we have to be a little bit better."
Goalie Tim Thomas has lost five straight road games, posting a 3.82 GAA in that span. Boston is 0-6-1 in its last seven road games.
STANDINGS: Bruins - 69 points, 5th place, 36 PB, Northeast Division. Canadiens - 83 points, 3rd place, 22 PB, Northeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Bruins - Marco Sturm, 27 goals; Patrice Bergeron, 39 assists and 65 points; Hal Gill, 116 PIM. Canadiens - Michael Ryder, 28 goals; Koivu, 40 assists; Alexei Kovalev, 56 points; Steve Begin, 113 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Bruins - Power play: 15.2 percent (59 for 387), 24th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.5 percent (365 for 437), 13th. Canadiens - Power play: 19.5 percent (81 for 415), 5th. Penalty killing: 80.9 percent (359 for 444), 23rd.
GOALTENDERS: Bruins - Thomas (11-9-7, 1 SO, 2.61 GAA); Andrew Raycroft (8-19-2, 0, 3.71). Canadiens - Huet (16-8-4, 6, 2.13); David Aebischer (26-16-2, 3, 3.12).
SEASON SERIES: Canadiens, 4-1.
LAST MEETING: March 9; Canadiens 3-0. At Boston, Kovalev, Sheldon Souray and Tomas Plekanec all scored for the Habs.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bruins - 13-19-5 on the road; Canadiens - 21-10-4 at home.
|Apr 13 '06||MTL 4 at BOS 3||A. Kovalev|
|Apr 04 '06||BOS 3 at MTL 5||C. Higgins|
|Apr 01 '06||BOS 0 at MTL 2||G. Murray|
|Mar 09 '06||MTL 3 at BOS 0||A. Kovalev|
|Feb 04 '06||BOS 0 at MTL 2||A. Markov|
|Feb 02 '06||MTL 1 at BOS 3||P. Bergeron|
|Oct 18 '05||BOS 3 at MTL 4||A. Perezhogin|
|Oct 05 '05||MTL 2 at BOS 1||M. Ryder|