Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins Pick & Prediction MARCH 14th 2024

Despite ups and downs that were virtually nonexistent during last season’s President’s Trophy run, the Boston Bruins have still found their way to second in the Eastern Conference standings with 15 games to go.

How? Bouncing back from losses has been a key reason.

The Bruins had been 3-0-1 over a four-game span before a lackluster 5-1 loss on Monday against the St. Louis Blues, and now have a chance to respond in a Thursday visit to the rival Montreal Canadiens.

“I feel like with our coaching staff here, we have a good mindset on where we’re headed and what we want to accomplish,” defenseman Brandon Carlo said. “You are going to have to have short-term memory in some situations. … So, I’m actually thankful for it. I think it’s going to better prepare us, but we need to … (try) to make our game a little bit more consistent at times.”

David Pastrnak scored Boston’s lone goal on Monday, his 41st of the season.

The Bruins’ goals for the rest of the season involve that same word: consistency.

We need to “continue to refine our game, continue to get better and to consistently be able to find our game — if we’re playing well, to continue it, or if we’ve started a game poorly, to get to it right away,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said.

The last two of three head-to-head meetings against the Habs have gone the Bruins’ way (2-0-1), including a wild 9-4 game when the teams last met in Boston on Jan. 20.

While the Canadiens are outside of the playoff picture again, there should be no lack of energy and emotion from the Montreal crowd. Energy and emotion, which the Bruins lacked in their most recent game.

“We’re at our best when we do play emotional, when we play tight, we play together, play physical, move as a unit, and when we play above teams,” Bruins captain Brad Marchand said. “We didn’t do that (on Monday).”

With defenseman Matt Grzelcyk and forward James van Riemsdyk under the weather, Montgomery said, newly acquired blueliner Andrew Peeke will make his Bruins debut in Montreal and forward John Beecher was recalled from the American Hockey League on an emergency basis.

The Canadiens will be in Boston off the high of a 3-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. It was their third win in seven games (3-2-2) since a five-game losing streak.

Three goals on four shots by the 5:48 mark of the first period — by Brendan Gallagher, Juraj Slafkovsky and Joshua Roy — stood up as Cayden Primeau made 41 saves for his second shutout in four starts.

“I think there have been a lot of games this year where we’ve had really good starts. And then we’ve come back in the room after the first and it’s been tied or we’ve been down,” Gallagher said. “At times, we almost haven’t been rewarded.”

Primeau had been a part of a three-goaltender rotation before Jake Allen was traded to the New Jersey Devils on Friday.

Tuesday marked Primeau’s first start since that transaction.

“(Primeau) just looks more confident in the net,” Canadiens defenseman Kaiden Guhle said. “Sometimes the team’s not playing the greatest in front of (the goalie) and they stand on their head. So, he’s definitely a huge part of (Tuesday’s win).”

The 19-year-old Slafkovsky has 34 points, which is five shy of Montreal’s franchise record for a teenager. Fourteen have been goals.

–Field Level Media

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