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Canadiens to sit Bourque for Prust vs. Bruins

by Arpon Basu

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien made a questionable lineup call the prior time his team played the Boston Bruins and it worked out well.

He appears to be doing the same thing Wednesday.

When the Canadiens played the Bruins in Boston on Jan. 30, Therrien decided to sit goalie Carey Price and start Peter Budaj. The result was a 4-1 win, with Budaj making 34 saves.

Budaj will start Wednesday against the Bruins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, RDS) because Price has a lower-body injury. Left wing Rene Bourque will be a healthy scratch with the return from injury of Brandon Prust.

It will be the second time this season Bourque has been removed from the lineup; the other was for a Jan. 18 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the 13 games Bourque has not played, due to injury or coach's decision, the Canadiens are 8-4-1; they are 27-20-6 with him in the lineup.

Bourque scored 88 goals in 249 games with the Calgary Flames before being traded to the Canadiens on Jan. 12, 2012. He has 20 goals in 118 games since that trade.

"A guy like Rene, we want him to contribute more offensively, get more chances," Therrien said. "To be productive offensively you have to play between the dots, go hard to the net, and those are the things that we haven't seen on a consistent basis with Rene. But he's going to have a chance to come back in the lineup pretty soon, so it has to be up to the players to realize that when you're in the lineup, don't lose your opportunity because there's always somebody at the door ready to take your place."

Therrien will scratch forwards Dale Weise and George Parros against the Bruins; the average height and weight of Bourque and those two is 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds.

Canadiens defenseman Mike Weaver, acquired the day before the NHL Trade Deadline from the Florida Panthers, also will sit out, in favor of veteran Francis Bouillon, who has been scratched for all but one of the past 16 games. Bouillon was on a pair with P.K. Subban at Montreal's morning skate.

The Bruins, coming off their fifth straight win, 5-2 at the Florida Panthers on Sunday, will not be making changes to their lineup, aside from Jordan Caron playing in place of injured forward Daniel Paille (concussion). Defenseman Dougie Hamilton will sit for a second straight game in favor of Andrej Meszaros, a deadline-day acquisition from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Meszaros played to the right of former Ottawa Senators teammate and Bruins captain Zdeno Chara against the Panthers and should be there against Montreal.

"It feels great," Meszaros said of playing with his Slovakian countryman. "Obviously he's a great player. He helps you out there a lot. He tries to talk to you every time you're out there on the ice and that's great. Even after shifts, if we read it good or wrong, we talk about it and go out the next shift and try to do better. He's helping me a lot."

Goalie Tuukka Rask is expected to start for the Bruins. He has a 2-10-2 record with a 2.88 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in 14 starts against the Canadiens. Budaj is 4-1-0 with a 2.35 GAA and .919 save percentage in four starts against the Bruins.

Here are the projected lineups for the Bruins and Canadiens:


Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith

Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Shawn Thornton - Gregory Campbell - Jordan Caron

Zdeno Chara - Andrej Meszaros

Matt Bartkowski - Johnny Boychuk

Torey Krug - Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Dougie Hamilton, Corey Potter

Injured: Dennis Seidenberg (knee), Adam McQuaid (leg), Daniel Paille (concussion)


Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Brendan Gallagher

Thomas Vanek - Tomas Plekanec - Brian Gionta

Alex Galchenyuk - Lars Eller - Daniel Briere

Travis Moen - Ryan White - Brandon Prust

Andrei Markov - Alexei Emelin

Francis Bouillon - P.K. Subban

Douglas Murray - Jarred Tinordi

Peter Budaj

Dustin Tokarski

Scratched: Mike Weaver, Rene Bourque, George Parros, Dale Weise

Injured: Carey Price (lower body), Michael Bournival (concussion), Josh Gorges (hand)

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