The Bruins look to snap a four-game losing streak against the Canadiens when the Northeast Division rivals continue their season series Thursday night.
After winning five of its first seven games, Boston (7-5-2) has gone just 2-3-2. The Bruins fell 2-1 in overtime to Buffalo on Wednesday night after a shootout loss to Ottawa by the same score Sunday.
They now face a Canadiens (8-3-3) team that has defeated Boston four straight times, with two of those matchups decided by three goals or more. In the teams’ first meeting this season, Montreal beat Boston 6-1 at home on Oct. 22 for its most lopsided victory since a 5-0 win over Philadelphia on Feb. 5, 2006.
Canadiens left wing Chris Higgins, who scored the lone first-period goal in the meeting last month, has two goals and five points in his last three games against Boston. Montreal has yet to trail after the first period through 14 games this season, outscoring its opponents 16-7 in the opening 20 minutes.
Cristobal Huet played well in the first meeting with the Bruins, stopping 31 shots to improve to 6-2-0 with a 1.91 goals-against average in nine career starts against Boston. The netminder fared even better in Montreal’s 2-0 win over Buffalo on Monday night, making 29 saves for his first shutout since last Nov. 28, when he beat Florida 1-0 in a shootout.
He also bounced back nicely from a 3-2 loss to Toronto on Saturday night, when he stopped 28 of 31 shots but expressed displeasure with his performance.
“That’s Cristobal. He wants to be perfect every night,” Canadiens defenseman Patrice Brisebois said. “He always wants to make a difference in the game.”
Montreal has won six of its last eight (6-1-1), and Huet is 5-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA in that span.
The Bruins, meanwhile, have scored just four goals in their last three games, and have been held to two or fewer nine times in their 14 contests. They are tied for 28th in the league with 32 goals on the season.
Marc Savard, who leads Boston with 13 points, scored the Bruins’ lone goal Wednesday. However, he has not scored a goal and has just one assist in his last four games against Montreal.
Boston managed only 26 shots on goal against the Sabres, wasting a strong game from Tom Thomas. He made 27 saves and continues to give the Bruins outstanding play in net, going 5-3-0 with a 1.65 GAA this season.
“You can’t get too far down because we are doing a lot of things right,” Thomas said.
Thomas struggled in his last start against Montreal, stopping just 24-of-33 shots in a 6-3 loss on March 22. Boston may turn to 20-year-old prospect Tuukka Rask, a former first-round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs who has never played in the NHL but was recalled Monday after going 6-1-0 with a 2.00 GAA in seven games with Providence of the AHL.
Boston is beginning a three-game stretch at home, where it is 4-1-1.