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Bruins Pregame Notebook vs. Montreal

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON – Tonight in TD Garden the Bruins (30-16-7) will take on the Montreal Canadiens (30-19-5) in an "Original Six" match-up.


At the end of the night, the Northeast Division standings could look a little different. With a Canadiens win, Montreal will tie Boston with 67 points. 

Last time out, Montreal defeated the Bruins with a late comeback, and took the game 3-2 in overtime to improve their season record against Boston to 3-0.  

“They certainly have given us some tough games and I thought the last game was a tough loss," Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said yesterday. "I thought we played well enough where we should have won that game.”

The Bruins will look to get back on track tonight on home ice where they hold a 14-10-3 record.

“There’s just a couple points between us,” said B's defenseman Johnny Boychuk. “Both teams are hungry and we just want to make sure we come away with those two points just to get some more separation.”

Despite Boston’s struggles against the Habs this season, Julien is confident his team can beat their northern rivals.

“We have to play a strong game," he said.  "And we feel that our game...when it’s at its best, is strong enough to beat them,” he said.

Caron Recalled
Monday, Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that the team recalled forward Jordan Caron from the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League.

Caron began the 2010-11 season in Boston and compiled a 3-4-7 line in 20 games with the B’s.

Caron was sent down from Boston to the P-Bruins on Dec. 6.  Since that date he has played in 27 games for Providence with 6-11-17 totals in those contests. 

Savard Sidelined
After suffering his second concussion in 10 months on Jan. 22, Marc Savard will not return to the Bruins line-up for the remainder of the 2010-2011 season, including the playoffs.

Monday, the Boston Bruins held a press conference to make the announcement. Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli sat alongside Savard and Bruins Head Team Physician Dr. Peter Asnis, while Savard solemnly answered questions from the media. 

“I feel really comfortable with Dr. Asnis and they’ve done a great job with helping me. And Peter [Chiarelli]’s been unbelievable, so it’s made it that much easier,” Savard said at the press conference.  

“But obviously, it’s tough right now because we have such a great hockey team and it’s going to be tough to watch, but I think they’re going to do a great job.”

Savard suffered his first concussion on March 7 of last year when he was a victim of a blind-side hit from Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke. Savard was sidelined the rest of the 2009-10 regular season, but returned for the team’s second round playoff games against the Philadelphia Flyers. 

The Bruins center was again sidelined at the beginning of the current season while he continued to recover from symptoms of post-concussion syndrome.

Savard played his first game of the 2010-11 season on Dec. 2. 
“It was tough, still really tough to swallow, especially like I said because we have such a great team and great people and obviously Zee [Zdeno Chara] and Rex [Mark Recchi] and Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] are here today and that’s special to me, for them showing up, and makes it that much tougher,” said Savard.

The second of Savard’s concussions came on Jan. 22 during the Bruins tilt with the Avalanche in Colorado’s Pepsi Center. 

B's Look to Step Up
With their top-line center sidelined for the remainder of the campaign, the other Bruins players are all looking to step up their game as the team makes its run towards the play-offs.

“I mean, ever since I’ve been here and the year before, [Savard’s] been a big part of this team," B’s winger Milan Lucic said of Savard’s absence from the line-up. "He’s obviously a creative guy that knows how to produce and has shown that he can produce.

"That’s what we’re going to miss the most not having him in the line-up.
 
”We’ve also played a lot of games this year without him and we’ve been able to do well without him," continued Lucic. "It’s definitely going to be a challenge and I think it’ll motivate some guys to take more of a role upon themselves, to step up their game.

"That’s what we need from everyone.”

Bruins center David Krejci might be one of the players who can help the most.

“He’s done it numerous times in the past, whether it was his first year when Bergeron went down, and when Savard went down he was a real good player,” Julien said of Krejci.

“I think he prides [himself] on being relied upon and he likes those kinds of challenges, so I would like to think that’s going to happen again.”

But it’s going to take more than just one player to fill the skates Savard’s concussion has left empty. 

“Every night that we play we’re going to need everyone, it needs to be coming from all twenty guys. If you look at our past wins, that’s what it was.  Every guy doing their part and contributing and that’s what we’re going to need here going forward,” Lucic said.

Julien agreed with Lucic and said that every skater wearing a Spoked-B sweater needs to take their game to another level.

“You don’t go out and replace a guy who’s almost a point a game player for you...just like that,” Julien said. “It’s going to take the whole team to really pick up our game and make sure we play well.”

Special Teams Work
The Bruins, who haven’t scored a power-play goal since Milan Lucic netted one with the man-advantage on Jan. 22 in Colorado, spent a solid portion of yesterday’s practice working on their special teams play.

“It’s a function of still trying to make our power play better,” Julien said.  Last game (Saturday against San Jose) was one you could say you weren’t pleased with our power play.

"We had a hard time getting in the zone and even so as I mentioned earlier on, we couldn’t win battles along the boards.”

The Bruins are 20th in the league in power play rankings, converting on just 31 of 184 man-advantage opportunities.
Yesterday in practice, Julien tried to remedy that statistic.

“We’ve kind of tweaked our personnel around and hope that we can get better in regards to that. That’s an area that, since the beginning of the year, we’re really working hard to make better,” Julien said.

Although the B’s have had recent power play struggles, the statistics on penalty kill swing in Boston’s favor. 

Boston is seventh in the league in the PK, and has killed off 84.6 percent of opponents’ power plays. They are even better at home, with an 86.8 percent kill rate in TD Garden.

---Hannah Becker
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