PLAYER NEEDING HIS TIRES PUMPED: Dougie Hamilton will now be the healthy scratch for the second straight gam, and isn’t in the lineup for a playoff-style game against the Montreal Canadiens. This comes after Hamilton was on the ice for two goals against vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning and ended up on the bench in the third period and overtime of that game. While the Bruins continue to protest that they love Dougie’s game and he’ll be a mainstay once the playoffs begin, I have my doubts given the way things are going right now. Hamilton needs a big performance or two when he does get back into the Boston lineup to secure his playoff position in the top six.
DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: “It is important from our point of view to finally get a win against this team. In order to do that we have to play well, and in some instances we haven’t given our best efforts against this team. Credit to them that they play well against us, but we could play better against them.” –Gregory Campbell recognized the importance of a victory against the Habs.
KEY MATCHUP: It comes down to Thomas Vanek against Zdeno Chara. That will be the matchup that most Bruins/Habs onlooker will be paying the most attention to given Vanek’s 30 goals and 61 points in 53 career games against the Black and Gold. He’ll be skating with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta, and that’s the kind of line that could pose some problems for the Black and Gold. It should be very interesting to watch how things play out with Vanek in a Habs sweater.
STAT TO WATCH: 5 – the number of consecutive losses for the Bruins against the Canadiens and the season-high winning streak that Boston brings into the game at the Bell Centre.
INJURIES: Boston has shut down defenseman Adam McQuaid (strained quad) for the next several weeks after he had a setback in his recovery, and hasn’t played an NHL game since Jan. 19. Dennis Seidenberg is out for the season with a right knee injury that required surgery. Daniel Paille is out with a minor concussion suffered Sunday against the Florida Panthers.
The Canadiens are without Carey Price (lower body), forward Michael Bournival (concussion) and defenseman Josh Gorges (broken hand), with Gorges most likely done for the rest of the regular season.
GOALTENDING MATCH-UP: The Bruins held an optional skate on Wednesday morning that Tuukka Rask opted to sit out, but the B’s netminder is expected to get the start. Rask is 2-10-2 lifetime with a 2.88 goals against average and a .900 save percentage against the Habs and is badly in need of a playoff-style performance against a Montreal team that’s given Boston problems recently.
With Carey Price on the shelf, it will be either Peter Budaj or Dustin Tokarski, who have combined to post an .884 save percentage in the seven games that Team Canada’s winning goalie has been on the shelf. It’s really illustrated just how much Price is helping mask some of Montreal’s team weaknesses.