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Need to Know: Bruins vs. Canadiens

Backes returns as Boston searches for its seventh consecutive victory

by Eric Russo @erusso22 /

BOSTON - The Bruins will be aiming for their seventh consecutive victory on Sunday night when they welcome the rival Montreal Canadiens to TD Garden. It is the second meeting between the teams in the last five days, following Boston's 8-1 victory in Montreal on Tuesday.

"It's for sure going to be a pretty spirited game," said Matt Grzelcyk. "It was only a couple days ago, so it's still fresh in the mind. We talked about it, we're gonna keep our emotions in check. We haven't gotten off to great starts the last couple games. It's something we've been working on."

Here is everything else you need to know for Sunday's game (7 p.m. ET on NESN and 92.9 FM):

Backes Back In

After missing the last 13 games with an upper-body injury suffered during a frightening collision with Ottawa's Scott Sabourin on Nov. 2, David Backes will return to the lineup and skate alongside Anders Bjork and Sean Kuraly on Boston's third line.

"We'd like to see him be able to perform at NHL pace right now because when you miss a month, that's a lot of hockey games," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "Getting back in, getting his feet under him, being able to do things with limited time and space - it's not practice anymore when guys are on you. Just be able to do his job.

"I don't want to say he's gonna play X-amount of minutes because that depends on penalty kills, power play, influence at 5-on-5. Hopefully he's up to the task for his shifts 5-on-5 and we'll try to work him in to the second power play and see where it leads us."

Video: Backes talks with media following Saturday's practice

Studnicka Assigned

After playing in his first two NHL games earlier this week, Jack Studnicka was assigned to Providence on Sunday to resume his development with the P-Bruins. Cassidy was pleased with the 20-year-old's play during his short stint with the big club, but acknowledged that the team prefers him to get more playing time at center in Providence.

"We've talked about how important his development was if he wasn't gonna be here, a lot like [Urho Vaakanainen]," said Cassidy. "It's his first year pro, more important that he plays. I thought his game was good the other night [against the Rangers], got on pucks. He's got some things to learn if we're gonna put him on the wing.

"Again, that's something we're reticent to do right now. I did it in-game because I didn't like the direction the game was going, but that's not something we want to do on a regular basis just yet."

Video: Cassidy Addresses The Media before B's Play MTL

Marchand Good to Go

Brad Marchand missed Saturday's practice with flu-like symptoms but is expected to play against the Canadiens. Cassidy said that the winger was "feeling better - not 100 percent, but better." Brendan Gaunce will take warmups just in Marchand is unable to go.

Opposing View

The Canadiens have lost seven straight games, including last Tuesday's 8-1 drubbing at the hands of the Black & Gold. Given the way the last matchup went, the Bruins expect Montreal to come out with a strong response on Sunday night.

"It wasn't what they wanted on their home ice," said Jake DeBrusk. "They're probably looking to do the same to us tonight. It's just more of a mindset that we understand they're gonna be a better team than we played a couple nights ago.

"They have lots of guys that have pride over there and obviously with their coach, they're well coached. They'll be ready to go, that's expected, and so are we."

Carey Price, who was pulled early in the second period of Boston's win on Tuesday, will get the start in goal. Price is 10-8-3 with a 3.19 goals against average and .897 save percentage this season.

Video: DeBrusk Addresses The Media Before B's Play MTL

Wait, There's More

  • Patrice Bergeron took the ice ahead of morning skate for shooting drills with skating and skills coach Kim Brandvold. Bergeron will miss his fourth straight game tonight with a lower-body injury.
  • John Moore will join Providence on an LTI conditioning loan and was expected to play this afternoon in Charlotte. The 29-year-old has yet to suit up for Boston this season as he rehabs from offseason shoulder surgery.
  • Brett Ritchie took part in Sunday's optional morning skate wearing a maroon non-contact jersey. He has not played since Nov. 23 because of an infection.

Sunday's Projected Lineup

Brad Marchand - David Krejci - David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk - Charlie Coyle - Danton Heinen

Anders Bjork - Sean Kuraly - David Backes

Joakim Nordstrom - Par Lindholm - Chris Wagner


Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk - Connor Clifton

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Video: Bruins Assistant Captain, Backes Makes Return vs. MTL

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