—–Centre Dustin Boyd has cleared waivers but remains with the Canadiens. Unless the Canadiens risked a waiver claim in order to send a message, it’s hard to understand exactly what the purpose of the exercise was.
—–Ryan O’Byrne remains at the bottom of the Canadiens depth chart. He has not played in twelve games and, with Alexandre Picard ahead of him, chances of an appearance in the lineup in the near future seem slim. He won’t go on waivers because a raw 6’5” 220 pound defenceman, unlike Boyd, is likely to be claimed. Look for an eventual trade.
—–Last weekend the Canadiens played on back to back nights for the second time in three weeks. After winning the first game on the road, they lost game two at home on both occasions (to Tampa and Ottawa). Addressing the scheduling after last Saturday’s loss to Ottawa, coach Jacques Martin said these things tend to even out. The Canadiens will get the Bruins tomorrow night after their game twenty-four hours after playing in Pittsburgh. For Boston, there’s also the added stress of the game being the second of five in seven nights.
—–If form holds, expect a lowscoring defensive effort in which the team that scores first wins. When the Canadiens open the scoring they are 7-0-1 this season. The Bruins are 6-1-0 in the same circumstance. Conversely, when scored upon first the Canadiens are 2-5-0 while the Bruins are 1-3-1.
—–If you’re still studying the form chart, here’s more. The Canadiens are better on the road than at home and so are the Bruins. On the road the Canadiens are 5-2-0. At home they’re just 4-3-1. Similarly, at home the Bruins are 2-2-1 while their road record is 6-1-0 (including Wednesday’s 7-4 win in Pittsburgh). This is probably a reflection of the defense-first coaching styles of Jacques Martin and Claude Julien, neither of whom feels any need to present an exciting product in the other guy’s house.
—–Excluding the cast-of-thousands that has played left wing on the Gomez line, the slump for the remaining five front line forwards has become acute. Gionta has one goal over the last 10 games. Gomez is 0-for-13 games; Cammalleri has two assists the last seven games, Plekanec 0-for-4 games; Kostitsyn is 0-for-6. For that reason, look for the same re-shuffled lines Thursday night; Gionta aligned with Pelkanec and Cammalleri and Gomez flanked by Kostitsyn and Lapierre.
—-Carey Price will be making his league leading 15th start in Boston Thursday. The shutout win over Vancouver lowered his goals-against-average to 2.28 from 2.45 and raised his save percentage to .918 from .911.