CANADIENS (33-15-3) at BRUINS (28-17-7)
TV: NBCSN, SN, RDS
BOSTON -- After the Boston Bruins defeated the New York Islanders on Saturday, they tried to downplay their showdown with the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.
Despite the game at TD Garden being the last chance for the Bruins to beat the Canadiens in the 2014-15 regular season after three straight losses earlier in the year, the Bruins didn’t want to acknowledge that Montreal’s visit was more important than any other game.
“I don’t know. You know, we’ve played them so much over the years that we’re not looking to make a statement game,” Bruins forward Chris Kelly said after the Bruins beat the Islanders 2-1. “I think it’s more just trying to go out and play our best and get two points just like we play any other team. Right now that’s our main focus is trying to get points.”
The Bruins trail the Canadiens by six points for third place in the Atlantic Division. Montreal holds one game in hand. The Canadiens have outscored Boston 13-5 this season, led by forward Max Pacioretty, who has three goals against the Bruins. Bruins forward Loui Eriksson, who scored the game-winning goal against the Islanders on Saturday, has two goals against Montreal this season.
Eriksson, who has 12 goals in 51 games this season, continued to be a net-front presence for the Bruins that the Canadiens will have to deal with.
“Yeah I mean he’s always been a good net-front player when it comes to that stuff,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “People probably don’t realize how good he is because his physicality isn’t one of [his strengths], but he’s a guy that’s smart enough to get to the right place at the right time and he finds the puck.”
The Bruins have won three of their four games since the All-Star break.
With their 6-2 home win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, the Canadiens ended a two-game losing streak. Their power play was a catalyst with a 3-for-3 performance. Montreal’s power play is ranked 29th on the road (11.1 percent) and Boston’s penalty kill is ranked 15th at home (83.3 percent).
Neither team held a morning skate Sunday after playing Saturday night. Boston starting goaltenders won’t be confirmed until closer to game time.
Here are the projected lineups:
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Dale Weise
Alex Galchenyuk – Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher
Jacob de la Rose – Lars Eller – Christian Thomas
Brandon Prust – Gabriel Dumont – Jiri Sekac
Andrei Markov – P.K. Subban
Nathan Beaulieu – Sergei Gonchar
Alexei Emelin – Tom Gilbert
Scratched: Manny Malhotra, Michael Bournival, Mike Weaver
Injured: PA Parenteau (concussion)
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Reilly Smith
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Loui Eriksson
Chris Kelly – Carl Soderberg – David Pastrnak
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Craig Cunningham
Zdeno Chara – Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg – Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller
Scratched: Jordan Caron, Matt Bartkowski
Status report: Julien has been switching his right wings during games. The win against the Islanders finished with Eriksson on a line with Soderberg and Kelly, Smith on the line with Campbell and Cunningham, Paille on the line with Bergeron and Marchand, and Pastrnak on the line with Krejci and Lucic.
Who’s hot: Desharnais has six points during a three-game point streak for the Canadiens. ... Bergeron has three goals in his past four games.