Fresh off a two-game sweep of the New York Rangers last weekend, the Bruins travel to Montreal tonight to face the Canadiens, a longtime rival with a 24-15-8 record this season.
Both teams are in the thick of the playoff hunt, and with only 3 more games left against the Habs this season, it’s important that the Bruins use the momentum from last weekend to get two points and go into the All-Star break on a high note.
“We did a lot of good things the last two games as a team,” said blue-liner Dennis Wideman. “We put together two back-to-back good-work-ethic games.”
Having given up 24 goals in five losses to the Canadiens already this season, the Black and Gold are hoping to turn things around as each game becomes more vital.
“You don’t look back, just concentrate on tomorrow night and getting the two points,” explained Wideman. “We have to prepare like we did every other game, obviously not like we have in the past for them, but like we did for the Rangers.”
The Bruins defeated those Eastern Conference foes at the Garden in a 4-3 shootout on Saturday, only to turn around and beat them again 3-1 Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
But against the Habs, the B’s need to pick things up both offensively and defensively.
As of now, the Bruins are being outscored 2-1 in head-to-head competition with the Canadiens.
Keeping their quick offensive lines away from the net and keeping their score down will undoubtedly help the offensive effort.
“We have to tighten up our zone, try and take away their speed, and keep them to the outside,” said Wideman. “We haven’t slowed them down previously, and they free-wheeled down the neutral zone and had too many opportunities in front of the net.
“We need to keep them to the outside.”
Despite struggling with the Canadiens all season, the Black and Gold trail them by only three points, making tonight’s game pivotal in closing the gap.
While getting closer to the Habs in the standings is important, widening the gap between the Bruins and the New York Islanders and Rangers may be just as essential.
With fewer than ten points separating nine of the top ten teams in the Eastern Conference, each point is crucial as the season enters the home stretch.
“The game is very important. If we win we are one point behind them; if we lose we are five points back,” finished Wideman. “With how tight the conferences are, if you lose a game, you’re out; win a game, you are back in fourth or fifth.
“Every game is important at this point, especially games within our conference.”