The Bruins extend their win streak to nine games as Thomas records his second straight shutout.
The win also moves Boston into first place in the Northeast Division. They are tied with the Sabres in points with 24, but have played one less game. That makes Wednesday's clash in Buffalo more than just a chance to see if the Sabres will ever respond to Milan Lucic's hit on Ryan Miller. It's also now a showdown for first place in the Northeast.
Third Period, 19:48, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins now use their timeout after a Montreal offsides puts the faceoff outside the Boston zone.
Third Period, 18:58, Bruins 1-0: The Canadiens use their timeout to keep their top power-play unit on the ice after yet another big stop by Thomas. Price has been pulled for the extra attacker so it s 6-on-4 advantage.
Third Period, 18:21, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins will be shorthanded to end this one as Rich Peverley is called for cross-checking.
Third Period, 16:34, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins are really struggling to get the puck out of the zone as Montreal continues to pressure the Boston net. Chara and Travis Moen have words after yet another flurry in front of Thomas.
Third Period, 14:49, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins survive a scare as Adam McQuaid lays out to break up a bid, but that may have come at a cost as McQuaid struggles to get off the ice and is in serious pain on the bench.
Third Period, 12:19, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins with a golden chance as Horton and Lucic break in on a 2 on 1. Horton feeds Lucic for a chance all alone in front, but Price comes up with a huge save.
Third Period, 11:17, Bruins 1-0: Strong shift from the Bergeron line, with Marchand pressuring n the forecheck, Seguin getting off a quick shot and the Canadiens finally forced to ice the puck.
Third Period, 9:03, Bruins 1-0: Brad Marchand with a physical shift, laying out Emelin with a big hit in front of the penalty boxes, then roughing up Lars Eller along the boards.
Third Period, 5:14, Bruins 1-0: Chris Kelly up on third line with Kelly and Peverley in place of Pouliot. No surprise to see Pouliot benched after his undisciplined play. Would only be a shock if he gets another shift in this one.
Third Period, 2:47, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins kill off the penalty and Rich Peverley nearly scores on a drive just as the sides get back to even strength.
Third Period, 1:44, Bruins 1-0: Andrew Ference loses a skate blade while killing the penalty. The Bruins will be without him for a few minutes while he gets that fixed.
Third Period, 0:00, Bruins 1-0: The final frame is under way in Montreal, with the Bruins looking to hold on to their one-goal lead, but they'll have to kill the final 2:47 of Pouliot's penalty to start the period.
Second Intermission Notes: It was a great second frame for Tim Thomas, a solid one for 17 of the skaters in front of him and a brutal period for Benoit Pouliot, who threatens to give this one away to his old team.
Thomas has stood tall and kept the Bruins up 1-0, but they still have 2:47 of Pouliot's high-sticking double minor to kill off at the start of the third. Pouliot has six penalty minutes in 7:54 of ice time, and shouldn't get a chance to add to either of those totals in the third after back-to-back undisciplined stick penalties.
Those calls ended the momentum the Bruins had just started to build with several strong shifts after weathering Montreal's storm early.
The Bruins are still struggling to get shots through, with just 13 of their 33 attempts reaching the net thanks to 11 blocks by the Habs and nine missed shots. Boston's struggles in the faceoff circle also continue, going just 12-19 (39 percent) so far. Patrice Bergeron (2-7) and Chris Kelly (1-4) have had particularly tough nights in this one.
End Second Period, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins survive the first part of that power play despite Thomas losing his stick briefly, and will head into the third up by a goal.
Second Period, 18:47, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins will be down a man again as P.K. Subban takes a stick up high from Pouliot. It's a double minor as Pouliot stickwork could prove very costly here for Boston.
Second Period, 15:57, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins survive that penalty with some spectacular saves by Thomas to maintain the one-goal advantage as the sides are back to even strength.
Second Period, 13:57, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins will be shorthanded for the first time in this one as Benoit Pouliot takes a very bad penalty deep in the attacking zone. He gets called for hooking Alexei Emelin after taking exception to a big hit from the Montreal defenseman.
Second Period, 12:34, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins continue to get stronger as this one goes on, creating more and more pressure. They're also getting under the Habs' skin a bit, as Tomas Plekanec was going after Marchand at the bench there.
Second Period, 9:45, Bruins 1-0: Good shift by the Kelly line relieves the pressure and creates some chances for the Bruins with Johnny Boychuk jumping up to join the attack.
Second Period, 5:23, Bruins 1-0: Erik Cole picks Pouliot's pocket from behind at center ice and drives the net for a chance the other way denied only by a diving pokecheck by Chara.
Second Period, 3:35, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins had been on their heels early in the second, but a strong shift by the fourth line creates some pressure on Montreal and turns the momentum back toward Boston a bit.
Second Period, 0:40, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins with a scary moment early as Chara gives the puck away to Michael Cammalleri, but Chara recovers to break up the bid before Cammalleri can get the shot off.
Second Period, 0:00, Bruins 1-0: The middle frame is under way in Montreal, where the Bruins will look to build upon their one-goal lead from the first.
First Intermission Notes: The Bruins got what they wanted out of the first period, taking a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
But the Bruins were also on their heels a bit for the start of this one, with Montreal holding a 10-5 edge in shots. Many of those were quality opportunities, but Tim Thomas has been up to the task so far with some huge stops.
The Bruins officially have a 10-8 edge in hits, but Montreal has surprisingly delivered the bigger shots, most notably Alexei Emelin on David Krejci and Josh Gorges upending Milan Lucic. The Bruins need to generate a more consistent forecheck and take the physical game to the smaller Habs.
Boston also needs to do better on draws, as they were just 4-10 (29 percent) in the opening frame. Even the normally dominant Patrice Bergeron was just 1-5.
Solid period for Benoit Pouliot in his return to Montreal. He's a plus-1 with a hit in 3:40. He didn't get a point on the goal, but drove hard to the net to help distract Carey Price.
End First Period, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins looked shaky a bit in the early going, but score the only goal of the first to take a lead into the break.
First Period, 19:15, Bruins 1-0: Milan Lucic submarined and upended by Josh Gorges hip check in the final minute. The Habs have had the better of the hitting in the first period.
First Period, 15:41, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins strike first as Andrew Ference scores on a delayed penalty call on Montreal.
The Bruins transitioned quickly with the call upcoming, and Rich Peverley finds the trailer Ference for the shot from the left circle.
First Period, 14:40, 0-0: The Habs have been all over the Bruins early, outshooting Boston 8-2 so far and only some strong work by Thomas has kept this one scoreless.
First Period, 11:32, 0-0: Thomas has been tested early, with several good chances for the Habs, including a bid there by Erik Cole from the left slot that handcuffed Thomas a bit, but he's able to make the save with his mask.
First Period, 9:30, 0-0: Corvo is already back on the ice, a good sign for the Bruins as that was obviously no where near as bad as it looked initially.
First Period, 8:26, 0-0: The Bruins can't convert and Montreal actually had the best chance with a shorthanded 2-on-1 break created when Joe Corvo crashed into the boards. He struggled to get off the ice in pain and it will bear watching if he can return.
First Period, 6:26, 0-0: The Bruins will get the first power-play chance of the game as P.K. Subban is sent to the box for roughing as the Habs defenseman continues his feud with Brad Marchand with a shot up high on the Bruins agitator.
First Period, 6:10, 0-0: The Canadiens threaten as a Brian Gionta shot deflects in front of Thomas and trickles just wide of the net.
First Period, 2:50, 0-0: The Bruins have been a little sloppy in their own zone in the early going with a couple of dangerous passes, but no damage done so far.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: The game is under way at the Bell Centre, where the Bruins are looking to extend their win streak to nine games against the last club to beat them.
7:30 p.m.: The Bruins will once again open with the fourth line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton looking to set the tone right away. Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid start on defense, with Tim Thomas in goal.
The Canadiens counter with their far less physical fourth line of Mathieu Darche, Petteri Nokelainen and Aaron Palushaj, with Raphael Diaz and Alexei Emelin on the blue line and Carey Price in goal.
7:25 p.m.: The Bruins have officially scratched Jordan Caron and Steven Kampfer. No changes in lineup for Boston.
Jaroslav Spacek (upper body), Hal Gill (infection), Andrei Kostitsyn (lower body) and Andreas Engqvist (lower body) all out for Montreal, which has no healthy scratches.
7:15 p.m.: It appears there won't be any lineup changes for the Bruins in this one. No surprise with everyone healthy and the team coming off a 6-0 win over the Islanders.
That means Jordan Caron and Steven Kampfer should remain the scratches for Boston.
7 p.m.: Tim Thomas and Carey Price will be the starters in goal as expected. They led the clubs onto the ice for warm-ups in Montreal.
6:30 p.m.: It's a night of returns in the NHL.
Benoit Pouliot will make his first return to Montreal with the Bruins after missing the clubs' first meeting at the Bell Centre last month with an illness.
League-wide, the bigger story is the return of Sidney Crosby to the Pittsburgh lineup after being out since January with a concussion. The Penguins are facing the Islanders, but both the Bruins and the Canadiens were happy to hear of the Pittsburgh star's return to action.
6:10 p.m.: The Bruins and Canadiens will renew hostilities in Montreal for the third meeting of the season.
The Canadiens took each of the first two meetings in a home-and-home sweep at the end of October, but the Bruins haven't lost a game since.
Tim Thomas is expected to get the call in net for this clash, and he'll be coming off a shutout of the Islanders on Saturday.
He'll face Carey Price, who's coming off back-to-back shutouts of the Hurricanes and Rangers, earning Price NHL First Star of the Week honors.
8 a.m. ET: The Bruins hit rock bottom on their last visit to Montreal.
Boston dropped a 4-2 decision on Oct. 29 as the hated Habs completed a home-and-home sweep of their Original Six rivals, with the Bruins falling to last place in the East with a 3-7-0 record.
But that may have been the wake-up call that finally shook the Bruins from their post-Cup hibernation. They haven't lost again since those back-to-back defeats against Montreal, and they return to the Bell Centre Monday night riding an eight-game win streak.
The Canadiens (9-8-3, 21 points) have continued to play well despite a string of injuries, going 5-3-1 since the last meeting with the Bruins. But they still remain outside of a playoff position in 10th place in the East, while the Bruins (11-7-0, 22 points) have soared up to seventh.
Carey Price, who stopped 55 of 58 shots he faced in the two wins over the Bruins last month, has posted shutouts in his last two starts, making 25 saves in a 4-0 victory over Carolina and 17 saves in another 4-0 win over the Rangers. Price is also 15-4-2 with a 2.60 GAA and a .918 save percentage all time against the Bruins, numbers which are actually slightly worse than his overall stats this season (8-6-3, 2.16 GAA, .917 save percentage).
The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at the Bell Centre, so check back here for updates on all the action.
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