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Canadiens return home for showdown with Bruins

by Arpon Basu

BRUINS (42-17-5) at CANADIENS (35-24-7)


Last 10: Boston 7-1-2; Montreal 6-3-1

Season series: This is the third of four games between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins this season and the final one in Montreal. The Canadiens have won the first two games and are 5-0-0 against Boston dating to last season.

Big story: The Canadiens will be without starting goaltender Carey Price for an eighth straight game since the NHL's return from the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. That could provide the perfect opportunity for the Bruins to snap an improbable five-game losing streak against their biggest rivals.

Price aggravated a lower-body injury while helping lead Canada to gold at the Olympics. In his absence, Peter Budaj and Dustin Tokarski have combined to post a save percentage of .884 in seven games.

The Bruins enter the game on a five-game winning streak. Montreal is home after losing three of four during a trip to California and Arizona.

Team Scope:

Bruins: In spite of a season-ending injury to Dennis Seidenberg and a long-term one to Adam McQuaid, coach Claude Julien still has extra bodies on defense and needs to find a way to work them all into the lineup in the midst of a winning streak.

The mantra of many coaches that you don't mess with a winning lineup will not apply to Julien.

"We won again, but that doesn't mean my lineup's not going to change," Julien said after the Bruins practiced at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton sat out a 5-2 win against the Florida Panthers on Sunday to make room for Andrej Meszaros, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the Philadelphia Flyers. Julien made that move even though the Bruins had won four straight games, and he said Hamilton will get back in the lineup again at some point because the only reason he sat out was simple numbers.

"Dougie's not going to sit long," Julien said. "Dougie's played good hockey, he's been good for us, so Dougie's not going to be the guy singled out here. Dougie's going to be back in our lineup."

Canadiens: The Canadiens have long been a team that relied on a potent power play to keep opponents honest, and it is a weapon they have taken advantage of in their recent history against the Bruins.

However, since Dec. 3 the Canadiens' power play is 17-for-120, a success rate of 14.2 percent. Coach Michel Therrien devoted a significant amount of time to the power play at practice Tuesday, the team's first full workout since Feb. 28, and the Canadiens will need it to be running at full power if they want to snap Boston's five-game winning streak.

"Lately it hasn't been good, but we still feel confident," forward Brendan Gallagher said. "Since I've been here we've been one of the top power plays in the League. It's just getting back to that mentality, the little details that make us successful. Right now the biggest thing is puck retrieval; we seem to be dumping it in and going back 200 feet. That wears you down when you're doing that, you don't have as much energy left in the tank when you do get set up."

Who's hot: Bruins forward Jarome Iginla has three goals and two assists in his past five games, and center Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists Sunday in Florida…Canadiens defensemen P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov have combined for three goals and 10 assists in seven games since the return from the Olympic break.

Injury report: Aside from Seidenberg (knee) and McQuaid (leg), Bruins forward Daniel Paille is out with a concussion, though Julien said he is likely to play Saturday… The Canadiens are without Price (lower body), forward Michael Bournival (concussion) and defenseman Josh Gorges (broken hand).

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