BOSTON — Thomas Vanek will make his home debut as a Montreal Canadien on March 12. That night, he’ll join one of the greatest rivalries in the NHL, and he’ll do so with a lot of familiarity with the enemy — the Bruins.
The Canadiens acquired Vanek shortly before Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline, and that could be bad news for Boston. Not only will Vanek give the Habs a player who has scored 30 goals in a season four times, his reputation as a Bruins killer should be an added bonus.
Vanek, who spent most of his career with the Buffalo Sabres before being traded to the New York Islanders earlier this season, has absolutely torched the Bruins, with 30 goals and 31 assists in 53 games against Boston. Fourteen of those goals have come on the power play, and four have been game-winners.
The Bruins are more than aware of how good Vanek can be, especially when he’s across the ice from the Black and Gold.
“I know there’s been talk about Vanek going to Montreal, and they’ve strengthened their team and good for them,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “It never seems that we’re an anointed winner of trade deadline, and I’m fine with that. They’re a better team, and I look forward to facing them.”
The Canadians sit second in the Atlantic Division, eight points behind the first-place Bruins, who won’t have to wait long to see Vanek.
“He’s always played well against us, and Montreal’s always been a tough team,” Bruins center Gregory Campbell said. “It’s going to be a good challenge for us. He’s a good player, and with that offensively skilled team, he’ll fit in pretty well with them. Anywhere he goes, he’s going to challenge the opposition. He’s just another talented guy that we’re going to have to contend with, but that’s fine.”