The past nine games between the two teams and 14 of the past 16, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs, have been decided by one goal; five have gone past regulation.
The game Thursday is the second this season between the heated Original Six rivals and the first since a 2-1 Montreal win at Bell Centre on Dec. 5. Montreal is 6-4-1 against the Bruins since the start of the 2011-12 season.
Here's a look at all the action Thursday:
Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins -- The Canadiens snapped a four-game losing streak with a 3-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday. They'll be going for their first back-to-back wins in 2014. To do so, Montreal may need some production from its slumping power play, which is mired in a 3-for-33 slide. Boston has won four straight. The Bruins are getting a lot of production of late from the line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith, which has combined for 14 goals and 15 assists the past seven games. Smith leads the Bruins with 18 goals.
Florida Panthers at Toronto Maple Leafs -- Florida got blown out in Boston, 6-2, on Tuesday in Tim Thomas' return to TD Garden, snapping its three-game winning streak. A key for the Panthers has been scoring first. But it's something they've failed to do in 33 of 53 games; they're 8-21-4 in those games compared to 13-4-3 when they score first. The Maple Leafs are coming off a 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, their seventh win in nine games. Nazem Kadri, who scored twice Tuesday, has nine points (three goals) his past seven games.
Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets -- The Capitals have not won against a Metropolitan Division opponent in more than a month (0-4-1). The Blue Jackets played a part in that divisional losing streak, beating Washington 5-1 on Jan. 17 at Nationwide Arena. The Capitals have won two in a row since Alex Ovechkin, whose 38 goals lead the NHL, returned from a lower-body injury that caused him to miss the final two of a seven-game losing streak (0-5-2). Columbus has cooled off since winning a franchise-best eight straight games, losing three in a row, including a 3-2 home defeat to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski has at least one point in seven of nine games.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators -- The Lightning have won the first two games against their Atlantic Division competitor, including a 4-3 shootout victory last Thursday in Tampa. The Senators salvaged a point when Chris Neil scored with 2:18 left in regulation. Tampa Bay has won three of four, with rookie forward Ondrej Palat leading the way with seven points (two goals) in those games. Ottawa is 2-2-1 following an eight-game point streak (6-0-2) that got it back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture, and is coming off a 3-2 win against the Blue Jackets on Tuesday. Senators captain Jason Spezza has at least one point in three of four games (two goals, three assists).
New Jersey Devils at Dallas Stars -- Devils goalie Cory Schneider made 26 saves to pick up the shutout when the teams played in Newark earlier this month. This will be Jaromir Jagr's first game in Dallas after he spent most of the 2012-13 season with the Stars. Jagr, 41, leads New Jersey with 44 points and is tied with Michael Ryder, who scored in the 1-0 win against Dallas on Jan. 9, for the team lead with 16 goals. The Stars are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday that snapped a three-game winning streak. Tyler Seguin has six points in the Stars' past three games, including two goals and an assist in the loss Monday.
Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche -- This is the fifth and final game between the Wild and Avalanche, who have won three of four in the season series, including two by shootout. Minnesota is coming off an impressive 4-2 road win against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday; Zach Parise scored a goal and had two assists, and Jason Pominville scored his team-leading 21st goal. The Wild are 4-1-1 in their past six. Colorado went 2-1-0 on its recent road trip. The Avalanche will host the Wild and Buffalo Sabres on Saturday before hitting the road for their final four games before the Olympics. Gabriel Landeskog has at least one point in three straight games; he had two assists in a 4-3 win against the Stars on Monday.
San Jose Sharks at Calgary Flames -- Calgary is coming off a 5-4 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. TJ Brodie scored the game-winner with his fourth goal of the season at 2:26 of overtime. The Flames have won the first three of a five-game homestand. San Jose is 3-0-0 against Calgary this season, including a 3-2 overtime win at Scotiabank Saddledome on Nov. 12. The teams most recently played Jan. 20 in San Jose, a 3-2 Sharks win. San Jose has dropped two straight by shutout; they lost 3-0 on Wednesday to the Edmonton Oilers, who got 59 saves from Ben Scrivens, and 1-0 to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.
Buffalo Sabres at Phoenix Coyotes -- Buffalo beat Phoenix 2-1 in overtime Dec. 23 on a blooper-reel goal credited to defenseman Mark Pysyk. After the puck ended up in Mike Smith's hockey pants, the Phoenix goalie slid back toward his goal, unaware the puck was trapped in his equipment, surrendering the game-winner when the puck came loose and ended up in the net. The NHL-worst Sabres come into Jobing.com Arena having won once in their past eight games (1-4-3), their latest loss coming in a 5-4 overtime decision against the Capitals on Tuesday. The Coyotes, who announced Wednesday they'll be known as the Arizona Coyotes beginning next season, have won two of three. Thomas Greiss, who earned the shutout in a 3-0 win against the Kings on Tuesday, will get a second straight start.
Philadelphia Flyers at Anaheim Ducks -- Philadelphia opens a three-game California trip after a 5-0 win against the injury-plagued Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. The Flyers may be visiting the Ducks at the right time; Anaheim has lost two of three at Honda Center after starting the season 20-0-2 on home ice. Claude Giroux, who scored a goal and had two assists against Detroit, has 44 points his past 41 games. After back-to-back wins against their top rivals, the Kings, including Saturday night in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Dodger Stadium, the Ducks lost to the Wild 4-2 on Tuesday. Ryan Getzlaf, who had an assist against the Wild, has 14 points (five goals) in 12 games in January.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Los Angeles Kings -- Looking to break out of a 1-5-1 slide, the Kings welcome the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins to Staples Center for their first game in their home arena since Jan. 13. The Kings have scored one goal in their past 236:47 of game action. The L.A. power play, which is on a 3-for-38 skid, will try to get things going against the Penguins' NHL-best penalty-killing unit (87.6 percent). The Penguins, who are 8-2-1 in 2014, will complete a two-game road trip in Phoenix on Saturday before returning home to play three of four at Consol Energy Center before the Olympic break. With two assists in a 3-0 win Monday against the Sabres, Sidney Crosby has 74 points, 10 more than second-place John Tavares of the New York Islanders.
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