BOSTON – Hours away from squaring off against the Bruins for the fourth time this season, it’s obvious there’s a lot at stake in the Habs’ Wednesday night tilt at TD Garden.
With both teams tight in the standings and coming off nearly identical stretches in their last four games, each winning three and each dropping their last contest before tonight’s matchup, Habs’ head-coach Jacques Martin expects both to come out at full-tilt when the puck drops at 7:00pm.
“Every game against the Bruins is a tight checking game,” mentioned Martin of what his troops can continue to expect from their opposition in Wednesday’s game. “They’re one of the best teams in the league that’s also a very well balanced unit. This is a team that we always have close games with and that we always play hard against. We’ve gotten a lot of great chances on them in the games we’ve played this year, we understand the importance of this game and we’ll be ready.”
Having kicked the flu that had kept him out of the Canadiens’ lineup for their last two games, James Wisniewski will be looking to make up for lost time as he prepares to hit the ice. While the Canadiens have notched three power-play goals versus the Bruins this year, they’ll be hoping the sharp-shooting defenseman can help reignite that spark after going 0-22 with the man-advantage over their last five games.
“Boston has a stingy defense that doesn’t give you a lot of room to work with so the best thing that you can do is to try and make them pay on the power-play,” explained Wisniewski. “The power-play is huge and if you’re getting five of them a game but aren’t scoring goals, most likely you’re going to lose a lot of those games.”
A regulation win from the Canadiens would not only vault them into a tie with their Beantown rivals for supremacy over the Eastern Conference’s Northeast Division, but would also mark the fourth consecutive win over the Bruins in the 2010-11 season – a fact that certainly hasn’t been lost on Claude Julien.
“You know we’ve played three games, and the last one I think we should’ve won. If we had won that one, it’d be a 2-1 series and it’d be a lot different,” expressed the Bruins head-coach on the Habs’ 11th hour comeback in their last meeting. “We had a 2-0 lead with three minutes left, took some bad penalties and ended up losing. Some teams bring out the worst in you, and at times they’ve done that.”Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
Architectural rendering of the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ unveiled Junior report - Feb. 9, 2011 Special delivery Feeling trapped