By Ric Duarte, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — After beginning the month with a lackluster and listless 4-2 loss against the Washington Capitals, the Bruins have gone on to dispatch the New York Rangers, Tim Thomas’ Florida Panthers, those same Caps, and the Tampa Bay Lightning and Roberto Luongo and his band of Panthers in a weekend Florida sweep. They played pretty solid in once again beating the teams that they should beat.

Wednesday, it’s time to put up or shut up. It’s rivalry night and one of the biggest games of the year. Boston will be in Montreal to face the Canadiens and they had better show up this time.

When last they met at the TD Garden, the Bruins were posting a 5-0-1 record and Montreal had been reeling, losing four of their last five. The Canadiens toyed with the Bruins and skated away with a very easy 4-1 win as Boston seemed have no interest in playing them. Since that last meeting, the Canadiens acquired “Bruin Killer” Thomas Vanek who in 53 games against Boston has merely put 30 goals behind various Bruins goaltenders. He has 61 total points and now plays for the team Boston cannot seem to beat.

Since Feb. 6, 2013, when the visiting Bruins edged Montreal 2-1, Boston has lost five consecutive games to the hated Habs. With the way the division and conference is now set up, the Bruins will most likely have to play the Canadiens in the first or second round of the playoffs. And unless something changes tonight, they don’t match up very well against the speed of Montreal.

Oh, and one more thing: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has a career record against Montreal of 2-10-2, the most losses he has against any opponent by far. The Sabres and Penguins have tagged Rask with five losses each, tied for second-most.

So, it really is time to put up or shut up tonight for the Bruins and their goalie. No matter how many “other” teams they rack up wins against, if they can’t beat the Montreal Canadiens, I can’t see them going very far into the spring!

Ric Duarte has covered hockey and the Bruins for various media outlets since 1986. You can follow Ric at and on Twitter @bruins_diehard.


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