Game Day : Habs @ Bruins
The North East rivalry is in full throttle tonight as the Montreal Canadiens are in Bean Town to take on the Boston Bruins. To make things more interesting, the division rankings have made this another David vs Goliath mathcup, which is most cases seems to help the Habs. Will tonight be any different?
I won't waste too much time on this but I need to comment on what happened Saturday morning. I woke up to a text around 10:00am from another Habs fan buddy of mine. The text was short and sweet, simply " Martin fired". After a quick bootup of my laptop to make sure this wasn't a cruel joke, I breathed a sigh of relief when I read the news via twitter, it was over. As much of a shame as it is that a French coach wasn't fired is his place ( wtv ), the Jacques Martin era is done, and this is a good thing.
The Habs are in a tough spot tonight and if they can walk out of Boston with even 1 point they should consider themselves very lucky. After a terrible start to the season the Bruins are almost unstoppable, winning 18 of their last 21 games. Goaltender Tim Thomas is the teams MVP once again this year, having collected 15 wins in 21 starts, 4 of those wins were shutouts, and he has a GAA average of only 1.83 goals per game. I won't jinx him yet, but it seems Thomas is on pace for another spectacular season.
What can be said about the Habs offense 33 games into the season? Well, for starters, it's definitely not anywhere near where it needs to be for the Habs to be a contender but there are however some real positives that need to be mentioned. Erik Cole is a monster so far for the Habs and his less than impressive start has been forgotten. Cole has been by far the best Hab on the ice and it's safe to say he's showing the most heart out there as well. Elevating the game of his linemates, David Deshairnais and Max Pacioretty, Cole has been the character player the Habs have desperately lacked in the past few years.
Another Habs player that deserves a mention is Andre Kostitsyn, a player who has been under the microscope in Montreal since he was drafted. Perhaps a slow bloomer, when compared to the players who he was picked ahead of in the 2003 entry draft, but a good player for the Habs nonetheless. This season, he seems to be performing at a level that has shut up most of his critics even though he has still not been given the opportunity I would like to see him given. Kostitsyn has been given 3rd line time on the ice, but has put up numbers as if he were playing top 6 minutes. Andrei has 9 goals and 5 assists in 23 games this season, expect to see him in the top 6 tonight.
The Bruins are coming off their best performance of the year and they will for sure use that as fuel tonight. The Bruins annihilated the Flyers this past weekend in a 6-0 victory, giving Thomas his 4th shutout of the season and putting Boston in a great position to overtake first place in the conference. Forward Rich Peverley is a player to keep your eye on tonight, having collected 6 points in his last 4 games. Adding to that, Peverley is known for his ability to own the Habs, he's got 12 points in 14 games when facing the Canadiens in his career.
While I believe Peter Budaj should get the call in nets tonight, I would be surprised to see that happen. Expect to see Carey Price and Tim Thomas suit up for tonight's game.
Game starts at 7:00pm tonight and is being aired on RDS and TSN-HABSHD.