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BOSTON (CBS) - The Boston Bruins are looking to close out their four-game home stand Thursday night with a win over the Montreal Canadiens.
At 16-19-7, the Canadiens are reeling. They have lost eight of their last 11, including a 3-0 shutout at home Tuesday night to the St. Louis Blues.
But one thing remains a constant for the Habs; they always seem to play well against the Bruins. Playing well doesn’t always translate to a victory, but the Canadiens are currently the only team to beat the defending champs twice this season, taking both October meetings with the Bruins.
Read: Bruins-Canadiens Preview
And even though Montreal has been slumping as of late, going through scoring droughts and a coaching change, the Bruins are still expecting a tough game Thursday night.
“It doesn’t matter what their situation is, they always play well against us,” said head coach Claude Julien. “They know they can, they come in with confidence and they give us tough games. Every time we’ve beat them, we’ve had to play really good hockey and that’s what we have to prepare to do (Thursday).”
“Obviously when we play the Montreal Canadiens there is never a lack of emotions on both sides,” said forward Milan Lucic. “They’re a desperate club right now, so they’re a team that plays well against us whether it’s in Montreal or Boston. So we’re going to expect their best and we’re going to bring our best as well.”
“It’s going to be pretty easy to get motivated. We don’t like these guys, they don’t like us,” said center David Krejci. “There has been lots history. They’re battling for a playoff spot this year; it’s going to be a tough game. It’s a division game and we really need these two points. We’re going to have to get up for it and play our A-game.
After losing their first two meetings with the rival Habs, Boston has won two straight against Montreal, both one-goal games. After Thursday, the teams will meet just one more time (in the regular season) on February 15 in Montreal.
The Bruins would love to leave for a four-game road trip with another W in the standings. Their problem the past two times out has been a slow start. While they were able to overcome a 3-2 deficit against the Jets on Tuesday with a three-goal third period, Boston dug themselves into too big of a hole against the Vancouver Cancucks on Saturday.
Saturday is the only loss on the current home stand, and the B’s would like to set a presidence of dominance at the Garden.
“You want to end this home stand with a high note. I think we’ve done a pretty good job in establishing our rink as a hard one to play in,” said Lucic. “We have to take that upon ourselves to be a hard team to play against every night when we’re at home. Going on the road, you want to leave feeling good about ourselves.”
“You always want to leave on a good note here with a win under your belt,” said Julien. “We know how hard those road games are to start with, so you want to get as many points as you can at home. You always want to establish yourself as a team that is hard to beat at home. If you want that reputation, you have to be willing to be better and consistent in that area.”
And if the rivalry against the Canadiens seems a little watered down this time around, you can blame it on the other Canadian team the Bruins have been tangling with all week.
“It’s a little bit overshadowed by the other one, especially because the Vancouver game wasn’t too long ago,” said Lucic, before adding that Bruins-Habs is the best rivalry in the NHL.
“This one has more history than any other one in the NHL and I think that’s what makes it so special.”
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