If Saturday was any indication, there’s about to be a pretty interesting week ahead in the Boston Bruins rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens.
It took nearly half the season for the Original Six foes to meet for the first time, but it was well worth the wait, with the Bruins claiming the entertaining 4-3 shootout win.
And it’s only just the beginning.
Some unusual scheduling has resulted in the Bruins and Canadiens playing each other three times over the course of a week. So after Saturday, the Bruins will again see the Habs on Wednesday and Saturday, with tilts against the Dallas Stars and New York Islanders mixed in on Monday and Thursday as well.
And What should make the next week of the rivalry all the more compelling is the situation the two teams find themselves in.
The Bruins have played far better hockey this season than the Canadiens have — a change of pace from how most of the past few seasons have fared — and their next two matchups will be key for both teams.
The Canadiens currently sit in sixth in the Atlantic Division, eight points out of a wild card spot and 12 out of a divisional playoff spot. Although getting a point Saturday certainly was productive for Montreal, dropping the ensuing pair of decisions to the Bruins will bury them pretty deep in an already bleak playoff picture.
Conversely, the Bruins, who hold the second spot in the division, are looking to gain ground on the Tampa Bay Lightning, who hold the top spot in the division (and conference), as well as the Metropolitan Division-leading Washington Capitals, who hold a four-point advantage on the Bruins with four more games played.
Saturday’s game had a plethora of scoring and physical play — the teams combined for 77 hits — so with the added pressure of important playoff implications, things only will get more entertaining in a rivalry that never lacks exhilaration, regardless of circumstance.
And though the likelihood of the Habs making the playoffs is small, having three games in seven days between the two teams may be the closest thing we get to a payoff series feel between the rivals this season.
So enjoy it, because there’s a fun week of hockey on deck.
Here are some other notes from Bruins-Canadiens:
— Danton Heinen is on a four-game point streak. He contributed an assist on Brad Marchand’s first-period goal and has one goal, four assists during the stretch.
— The Bruins have won the last three meetings with the Canadiens.