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Habs, Bruins ready to renew rivalry

by Magalie Lafreni?re
CANADIENS (9-5-1) at BRUINS (8-3-1)


Last 10 -- Montreal 6-4-0; Boston 7-2-1.

Season series -- This is the first of six games between the teams. The Canadiens beat the Bruins five times last season, but they haven't met since March 13, when Montreal earned a 3-2 win at the Bell Centre.

Big story -- Up until the third period of Wednesday's game, the wrath of injuries to Boston's top-six forwards looked like they were taking their toll as Marc Savard, Marco Sturm and David Krejci are all out. But the B's surprised everyone and came out with all guns blazing in the third period with goals from five different players to take a huge come-from-behind win over the Penguins.

"I think for the third period, for sure, and for parts of the rest of the game, the guys really kind of came together and tried to do it by committee,” said Bruins forward Shawn Thornton. "Every line chipped in, and you're going to need that when you're missing a guy like Krejci."

And while the Canadiens have lost three of their last five, they still lead the Northeast Division and are third in the Eastern Conference.

Team Scope:

Canadiens -- The Habs won a huge game on Thursday shutting out the Sedin twins and Montreal native Roberto Luongo in a 2-0 victory. Carey Price made 34 saves, making up for a disastrous showing in Vancouver last season when the goaltender allowed seven goals in two and half periods. It was Price's second shutout of the season.

"I really wanted to win this one and I think our guys knew it," said Price. "My guys were helping me see the puck. They did a really good job of boxing out tonight. They did everything they could to help me. Everything I left out, they took care of."

In his fifth game back following his recovery from knew surgery, defenseman Andrei Markov scored his first of the season. Fellow blueliner Roman Hamrlik also scored his first of the season, but more importantly his goal came on the power play, which had previously gone 0-for-17 and had only seen success four times this season. The Canucks, on the other hand, are first in the League on the PP, but the Habs limited the Vancouver squad to just four shots in four opportunities.

"It's one of the most satisfying wins of the year," Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said. "It was like a chess match because we matched lines a lot tonight."

Bruins -- If you had turned the TV off after the second period of Wednesday's game, you would have missed quite the finish. Boston trailed 4-2 going into the third, but Nathan Horton and Zdeno Chara ignited a comeback at the start of the period by scoring twice in a span of 15 seconds and Thornton beat Brent Johnson on a 2-on-1 to take the lead. Two more goals by Blake Wheeler and Milan Lucic would give the B's a 7-4 victory.

Tim Thomas finished the night with 42 saves and improved to 8-0-0.

"We said in the locker room (during the second intermission), 'We still have an opportunity to win this game,"' Wheeler said. "It speaks to what we have in the room that guys know it's never over until it's over. It certainly helps to get one early because it gives you some confidence, and we took it from there."

Who's hot -- Marchand has had a point in four straight games with two goals and three assists. Despite allowing four goals on Wednesday, Thomas leads the League with a save percentage of .959 and is second with a goals-against average of 1.39. … Jaroslav Spacek has had three points in his last two games, while Carey Price, who has had a great start to his season, is in a seven-way tie for second place in the NHL in wins, with eight.

Injury report -- While Montreal is injury free, the B's aren't so lucky. Forwards Savard and Krejci are out with concussions, while Sturm (right knee surgery), Trent Whitfield (Achilles surgery) and defenseman Johnny Boychuk (broken left forearm) are on injured reserve.

Stat pack -- This is the third set of back-to-back games for the Bruins this season. In Prague, Boston fell to the Coyotes 5-2 in the first game, but made a comeback in the second, a 3-0 victory. Boston didn't fare too well in its second set of back-to-back games, which were played last week, with losses to the Capitals and the Blues.

Puck Drop -- "Thursday night is going to be a big game. They’re a great team and they’ve been playing well. We had a little hiccup over the last few games but I think we got back on track nicely last night. I think the rivalry between the two teams is still very present so we’re looking forward to a good battle for sure.” -- Habs defenseman Hal Gill
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