Gameday: Bruins vs. Canadiens

On paper, the Boston Bruins should win tonight.

After all, their forwards are better than Montreal's, since the Canadiens are missing Cammalleri and Andre Kostitsyn. The Bruins have better talent on the blue line, with Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk and Derek Morris leading the way over a group that includes Hal Gill and the corpse of Jaroslav Spacek. In net, Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak have near identical Save %, with Tuukka holding an edge in GAA. But, as anyone who's watched the Boston Bruins since the Winter Classic will tell you, what the Boston Bruins look like on paper can be discarded and ignored.

The Black and Gold have not won a game at the TD Garden since Dec. 30 against Atlanta. They had one regulation win in January, and three wins total. Goals have been few and far between, and so have good goaltending performances from Tim Thomas. Even when the Bruins have been a goal down, the deficit feels insurmountable because of how the team has gone about its business in the past month.

But if ever there was a game to get the Bruins going, tonight is that game. The Montreal Canadiens visit the Garden without leading scorers Michael Cammalleri and Andre Kostitsyn and holding a 1-4-1 record on the road since the New Year began. With both teams needing a victory in the worst way to keep hanging in the playoff race, expect this tilt to have all the intensity of a postseason matchup, complete with Maxim Lapierre yapping at any Bruin he can while hiding behind referees and his visor, as well as Dennis Wideman tripping and falling over the blue line multiple times leading to odd-man chances galore for Les Habitants.

Projected lines for the Bruins: