Game Two preview: Bruins vs. Canadiens

Game Two preview: Bruins vs. Canadiens

Bruins (46-26-11) vs. Canadiens (45-30-8)

Canadiens lead series 1-0

Starting Goalies

Bruins: Tim Thomas is the odds-on favorite to win the Vezina Trophy after a season during which he posted a league-low 2.00 goals against average and a .938 save percentage highest in NHL history. Thomas, however, allowed two goals on 20 shots in Game 1.

Canadiens: This season, Carey Price was named an All-Star for the second time in his career, and he played like one in the series opener. Price stoned all 31 of the Bruins shots to post his ninth shutout of the year, tying him with Thomas for the second-most clean sheets in the NHL.

Previous games

Entering the playoffs, the Bruins had won seven of their last 11 games. They outscored their opponents 33-18 over that span.

Montreal, however, went 4-5-0 in their final nine games, enduring a three-game goalless stretch at the end of March.
Head-to-head

The Canadiens took four of the six regular-season contests between these two teams, but Boston outscored the Habs in the season series 22-20 thanks to a 7-0 win in the final matchup before the postseason.

Milan Lujic posted nine points against Montreal this season four goals and five assists while David Krejci added seven assists.

Brian Gionta scored five goals against the Bruins this year, including the only two markers of Game 1.
Whos hot?

Dennis Seidenberg posted at least one point in each of the final three games of the regular season for the Bruins.

Including his sparkling performance in the series opener, Price has allowed just six goals in five games in April. Offensively, Gionta has five goals in his last three contests.
Storylines

There is no love lost between these two squads. Both members of the Original Six, the rivalry was amped up at the beginning of March when Zdeno Chara laid his controversial hit on Max Pacioretty. The clubs also had a riotous game in February as Boston won an 8-6 brawl.

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

BOSTON – No one is proclaiming DeMarcus Cousins’ demeanor is all that radically different than past seasons. 

But the volatile nature that has often overshadowed his on-the-court-brilliance, doesn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to. 

Maybe he’s growing up. 

Maybe he’s finally comfortable with his team. 

And then there’s the almighty dollar which was the incentive for one of his teammates, Matt Barnes, to clean up his act as far as racking up technical fouls and being fined by the league. 

I asked Barnes whether there was a light bulb moment or a teammate or player that helped him get on track and not draw so much attention from officials and the league office. 

“It was all the money I was being fined,” he said. “I think I lost like $600,000 over my career for fines. It was time to kind of wake and say ‘hey, they don’t like you so you have to stick to the book.’”

With Barnes returning to Sacramento (he played for the Kings during the 2004-2005 season), he finds an intense, kindred spirit of sorts in Cousins who like Barnes has had his share of technical and fines handed down by the league office. 

This season, Cousins is the NBA’s leader in technical fouls with six. 

“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders,” Barnes said. “I’m just a passionate player. I play with my emotion on my sleeve. I think DeMarcus does the same thing. What I’m trying to show him now, we have to keep our emotions and energy focused towards the right things. That could be detrimental to the team if it gets out of hand.”

First-year coach Dave Joerger has been pleased to see how different Cousins is to be around on a daily basis as opposed to how he’s perceived. 

“He gets credit for his talent. He gets credit that he’s improved in the league,” Joerger said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the way that his approach to the game and the way that he’s carrying himself and conducting himself has greatly improved. He’s a good person. Now being with him, I see improvement over the last three years, the way that he goes about his business. I think that’s very positive.”

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

BOSTON – Here are a few odds and ends to keep an eye on heading into tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings: 
 
· The Celtics have won eight in a row over the Kings in Boston, with the last loss to Sacramento at the TD Garden coming on Jan. 19, 2007. Current Celtic Gerald Green was in the starting lineup that night. 

· Only six times in franchise history have the Celtics launched 38 or more 3-pointers in a game, four of which came in the month of November this season. 

· Speaking of 3-pointers, 36.2 percent of Boston’s shots are 3s. That ranks fifth in the league behind Houston, Cleveland, Brooklyn and Golden State.

· Don’t be surprised if Avery Bradley gets off to a good start tonight, especially from 3-point range. He’s shooting 59.1 percent on 3s in the first quarter which ranks second in the league. 

· Isaiah Thomas tallied 395 points scored in November, the most by a Celtic since John Havlicek had 406 points in November during the 1971-1972 season. 

· Boston leads the NBA in points scored (46.3 per game) by second-round picks. The Celtics’ second-round picks include Isaiah Thomas; Jae Crowder; Amir Johnson; Jonas Jerebko; Demetrius Jackson and Jordan Mickey.

· The Celtics are 5-0 this season when they outrebound an opponent. 

· Tonight’s game will be Boston’s fifth set of back-to-back games this season. In the first game, they are 3-1 this season. On the second night, they are 2-2.