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Need to Know: Bruins vs. Canadiens

Storied rivals to meet for the first time this season

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins / Boston Bruins

BOSTON - Fresh off a stirring, last-minute victory in their home opener, the Bruins (3-1-0) get the chance to keep the good times rolling against their most-hated rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, Saturday night at TD Garden.

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub

Here's what you need to know:

What to Watch For

Montreal is off to an impressive start (3-0-1) and leads the Atlantic Division with 7 points. They sit 1 point ahead of the Bruins (as well as the Senators and Lightning).

As such, first place will be on the line when the storied adversaries square off for the first time this season Saturday night. Perhaps it will pour a bit of fire back into a rivalry that has lacked a bit of snarl over the last couple of seasons.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien acknowledged the dip in intensity following Thursday's practice, but did say there is still plenty of excitement when the Habs come to town.

"I don't know if it's going to stay that way, but it's kind of - I'm going to use the word, a bit more civilized, the last few years and there haven't been as many sidedshows," said Julien, who has coached on both sides of the rivalry.

"I think there's still a lot of hatred between the two organizations when they meet, but the way the game is trending, what ends up happening with penalties and the way they can be costly in a game, the teams are more cautious.

"I think there's a great intensity. I think both teams really get up for these kinds of games. Hopefully that happens tomorrow and the fans get to see a real good game."

Montreal won three of five meetings against the Bruins last season, including the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium. Both Bruins wins came in Montreal.

Opposing View

The Canadiens, who have yet to lose in regulation, had their ace netminder back between the pipes on Thursday night.

Carey Price returned against the Arizona Coyotes and made 27 saves in a 5-2 win, his first game since November 25, 2015. Price missed the remainder of last season because of an MCL sprain and sat out the first three games of this season with an illness.

The 29-year-old won the Vezina Trophy (best goaltender) and Hart Trophy (MVP) in 2014-15 and helped the Habs to a 9-0-0 start last season before being injured in late November. Without Price, Montreal finished sixth in the Atlantic Division (38-38-6; 82 points).

Price was tremendous at last month's World Cup of Hockey, while helping pace Canada to the title. He won all five games he played, allowing just seven goals. He led the tournament with a 1.40 goals against average and .957 save percentage.

One colossal change for Montreal this offseason was the trade of defenseman P.K. Subban to Nashville in exchange for blue liner Shea Weber. Weber tallied his first goal with Montreal on Thursday and leads the Canadiens with four points through four games.

Montreal (16 goals in four games) also added former Blackhawks tough guy Andrew Shaw during the offseason. He has one assist this season.

Defenseman Zach Redmond is out for six weeks with a broken foot.

Wait, There's More

  • Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask did not practice on Friday as he was given a maintenance day by Julien. He is considered day-to-day. Adam McQuaid did practice and is also considered day-to-day.
  • David Backes, David Krejci, and Danton Heinen played their first regular season game together in the Bruins' home opener Thursday and appeared to have strong chemistry, despite not cashing in on the score sheet. The trio combined for 8 shots on goal, six of which came from Backes.

Video: Krejci feeling more comfortable one week into season

  • Brad Marchand (3-6-9) and David Pastrnak (4-3-7) have started the season with points in all four games. Marchand is tied with Brent Burns for the league lead in points, while Pastrnak's four goals are second to Auston Matthews' five.
  • Marchand's nine points over the first four games is the best start for a Bruin since Marc Savard started 2008-09 with a 5-4-9 line in his first four contests.
  • Saturday's meeting will be the 735th between the Bruins and Canadiens, an NHL record. The Bruins have a 273-349-103-9 record and have not won at home against the Habs since Jan. 12, 2012, a stretch of eight games (0-6-2).
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