Playoff Watch: Bruins, Habs set for rematch
Posted on: March 24, 2011 4:36 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2011 4:52 pm
WHO CAN CLINCH: No new teams can clinch tonight.
ALREADY IN: The Vancouver Canuck, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Montreal Canadiens (40-27-7) at Boston Bruins (40-22-10), 7 pm ET
This game would certainly have importance even if Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara’s check didn’t leave Montreal Canadeins forward Max Pacioretty with a broken bone in his neck and a severe concussion the last time these two teams met. The Bruins lead the Northeast by three points over the Habs, who are 4-1-0 against Boston this season.
The reaction (overreaction?) by Montreal fans after Chara was ejected -- but not suspended -- over the incident on March 8 has quieted some since it became known that Pacioretty could make it back for the playoffs. Then Boston forward Mark Recchi goes on a sports talk radio station this week and says the Canadiens “embellished it a little bit.”
Still, there’s not likely to be the revenge-filled fracas that was the Pittsburgh Penguins-New York Islanders game on Feb. 11, which resulted in 23 games worth of suspensions. NHL commissioners Gary Bettman already warned Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and Montreal Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier against such an incident happening tonight, TSN.ca reports.
“Everybody talks about revenge and what’s going to happen – and the build-up,” said Milan Lucic told CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty. “I’m sure they’re saying the most important thing for them is getting the two points, and I’m sure for them the most important is getting the two points because they’re right behind us in the standings.”
ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Anaheim Ducks (41-27-5) at Nashville Predators (39-25-10), 8 p.m. ET
This game could mark the return of Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, who missed 15 consecutive games and 17 games total with vertigo. He was activated Wednesday and backed up Ray Emery in the Ducks’ 4-3 OT victory over Dallas. Hiller was a contender for the Vezina Trophy before his bout with dizziness forced him onto the IR. The Preds will counter with Pekka Rinne, whose goals-against average (2.07) is second only to Boston’s Tim Thomas this season.
GOLF WATCH: The Ottawa Senators will need a victory to avoid elimination. The Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers are already mathematically eliminated.
-- A.J. Perez
Photo: Getty Images