The Boston Bruins–Montreal Canadiens matchup is definitely one of the most heated rivalries in sports, and when the two teams go head-to-head, you never know who will be the victor. Tomorrow may be a different story since the Bruins, riding high on a four game winning streak, are steam rolling opponents left and right. Another six goal victory in the Bruins’ favor commenced last night against the Florida Panthers .
Where the Bruins and Canadiens Stand Now
The Bruins, second place in the Eastern Conference, are 10 points ahead of the Canadiens, currently sitting in fifth place after a 3-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes last night at the Bell Centre. However, over the past couple months or so, the Canadiens’ head coach Michel Therrien has changed the Habs’ strategy to a more gradual, “grind-it-out” approach.Bruins’ fans are used to seeing the Canadiens as the more offensively dynamic team–quicker from side-to-side and faster up the ice from their own zone. An unrelenting, high pressuring team essentially. The B’s usually slow the game down and manage its quick transitions conservatively.
That said, it appears that the Bruins have switched roles with the Canadiens. The Bruins’ forwards have been blasting up the ice in odd man rushes, spinning stout defensive play into excellent scoring opportunities. They have been cycling the puck quickly and effectively as well.
Nevertheless, they still show elements of the old Bruins–tough and opportunistic, fighting for loose pucks and burying rebounded shots coming from tough angles.
The Bruins have become a more versatile team this year–making them a very difficult opponent for any NHL squad to face.
Proof of the Bruins’ Success
Check out the highlights against the Panthers from last night. Tim Thomascouldn’t stop Milan Lucic. The former Bruin must have been especially surprised when Shawn Thornton pulled off that amazing deke in the slot.
Keys to Bruins’ Success Vs. Canadiens
The Bruins will have to proceed with caution against the Canadiens, though, because when the men from Beantown gain a solid lead, say two or three goals, the wheels start to come off. The forwards and defensemen start getting lazy, and gaps open up all over the ice. I would expect the Bruins to treat this game like a playoff game, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see an early goal advantage for Boston. To gain that lead in the first place, the Bruins must be multifaceted, grinding and finessing their way to goals. I’m confident that the Bruins can extend their win streak to five games.