The Bruins make their final visit of the regular season to the Bell Centre on Tuesday, and fans on both sides of the border are hoping it will be as memorable as their last clash at the Garden.
That meeting ended in an 8-6 Bruins win, but the 182 penalty minutes and 12 fighting majors remain even fresher in the memories of both sides. Both teams preached discipline leading up to the rematch, but Tuesday morning the trash talking continued.
"They like to get in and shoot their mouths off and then when you hit them they'll dive down and fall easy," Bruins forward Brad Marchand told reporters after Tuesday's morning skate. "They get a lot of shots behind the play, and then they play it off like when we run them they didn’t do anything to deserve it. That's the kind of team they are, they're pretty good at it."
The Canadiens aren't backing off in the war of words either.
"We're pretty pumped up for [Tuesday]," Montreal forward and Connecticut native Max Pacioretty told the Montreal team web site. "There's really not many words that can describe it. There's been so many tough games between Boston and Montreal since I've been here and that's sort of fueled the way a lot of guys in this room feel about that team.
"We know how much they hate us and we know how much we hate them, and if that's part of the reason I've been having success against their team, then that's great," added Pacioretty, who has seven points in seven career games against Boston, including 4-2-6 totals in three games this season. "We obviously remember the last game; whatever happened, happened and we're prepared to do whatever it takes to win tonight."
The Canadiens remain shorthanded on the blue line with Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges out for the year and Jaraslav Spacek sidelined with a knee injury. But they will have newly added veterans Brent Sopel and Paul Mara in the lineup.
Sopel missed practice on Monday but participated in Tuesday's morning skate and should be good to go in this game. Forward Michael Cammalleri also missed Monday's practice but returned Tuesday morning and should be in the lineup.
Montreal will be without Mathieu Darche (groin), while Tom Pyatt, Greg Campbell's punching bag last month, and defensemen Yannick Weber and Alexandre Picard are expected to be the healthy scratches. Ryan White will be inserted into the fourth line for some semblance of toughness. He's far from a heavyweight but is a gritty player and frankly, he is about all the Habs have for help in that department without calling up reinforcements from their AHL affiliate in Hamilton.
The Bruins will remain without defensemen Steven Kampfer (concussion) and Andrew Ference (lower body), who did not make the trip. Rookie Matt Bartkowski will play his fourth NHL game, and his first not against his hometown Penguins.
Up front, Patrice Bergeron returns after missing Saturday's game to attend to a personal matter and Mark Recchi will play after an excused absence from Monday's practice. That leaves just one healthy scratch at forward, with Tyler Seguin expected to take a seat in the press box.
Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate, but that was likely more to do with being stung with a shot up high than the traditional indication of who will start that night. We'll have to wait until warm-ups to be certain, but it's unlikely the Bruins wouldn't go with No. 1 netminder Tim Thomas in a game of this importance.
The Canadiens are expected to start Carey Price once again. He's 12-3-2 all-time against Boston with a 2.64 GAA and a .916 save percentage, but was in net for all eight goals in last month's matchup.
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Rich Peverley-Chris Kelly-Michael Ryder
Danial Paille-Greg Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Adam McQuaid
Matt Bartkowski-Dennis Seidenberg
Scratches: Tyler Seguin, Andrew Ference (lower-body), Steven Kampfer (concussion), Shane Hnidy (shoulder)
Projected Canadiens lines
Michael Cammalleri-Tomas Plekanec-Jeff Halpern
Max Pacioretty-Scott Gomez-Brian Gionta
Travis Moen-Lars Eller-Andrei Kostitsyn
Benoit Pouliot-David Desharnais-Ryan White
Roman Hamrlik-James Wisniewski
Hal Gill-P.K. Subban
Paul Mara-Brent Sopel
Scratches: Yannick Weber, Tom Pyatt, Alexandre Picard, Mathieu Darche (groin), Jaraslav Spacek (knee)