Bruce Cassidy goes for a third straight victory since taking over as coach when his Boston Bruins host the Atlantic Division-leading Montreal Canadiens on Sunday. The Bruins knocked off San Jose 6-3 on Thursday after Cassidy replaced the fired Claude Julien and followed that by scoring a late goal to edge Vancouver 4-3 two days later.
Boston’s offense is perking up while its power play is producing (10-for-23 over the last seven games), and no one is hotter offensively than David Pastrnak, who has registered five goals and four assists over his last four contests. The Bruins will test the streak against an angry, tired Montreal team that will be playing its eighth game in 13 days before receiving a “bye week.” The Canadiens are 2-4-1 thus far during the stretch after falling 4-2 against visiting St. Louis on Saturday despite allowing just 22 shots. Carey Price was rested Saturday and should be back against Boston, but the former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner has posted an .875 save percentage in four contests this month.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, Sportsnet, RDS
LINE HISTORY: The moneyline hit the boad with the Bruins favored at -140 and that line has been steady since its release. The total is split depending on which book you look at with half having this game at 5 and the other half sitting at 5.5. Check out the complete line history here.
Canadiens – RW B. Gallagher (Questionable, hand).
Bruins – C A. Czarnik (Out Indefinitely, lower body).
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (31-18-8, 24-23 O/U): Montreal’s offense has gone cold in February, producing just five goals in the five losses, but the Canadiens expect to get the pesky Brendan Gallagher (hand) back in the lineup Sunday after an absence of more than a month. Captain Max Pacioretty has recorded a team-high 50 points and six in his last two games after recording a goal and an assist in Saturday’s loss despite struggling with the flu. Defenseman Shea Weber also netted his 13th goal, but the Canadiens need more from Alex Galchenyuk, who has registered only two points in his last seven games.
ABOUT THE BRUINS (28-23-6, 28-24 O/U): Pastrnak’s surge solidified his hold of second place on the team in scoring with 47 points – 10 behind Brad Marchand, who was kept off the scoresheet Saturday but has registered 13 over his last eight contests. The veteran Patrice Bergeron also has raised his production level despite going scoreless against Vancouver, notching 12 points over his last seven games. Tuukka Rask (26-13-4, 2.32 goals-against average, .910 save percentage) was rested Saturday but should be back in the crease after Anton Khudobin turned in a 29-save performance.
ICE GIRLS BATTLE:
– Canadiens are 1-8 in their last 9 in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation.
– Bruins are 4-1 in their last 5 home games.
– Under is 5-1 in Canadiens last 6 road games.
– Over is 8-0 in Bruins last 8 overall.
– Canadiens are 6-0 in the last 6 meetings in Boston.
Check out a complete list of hot and cold trends, here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 65 percent of the Covers public is siding with the road underdog Canadiens on the moneyline and 77 percent are on the Over. View full consensus data here.