The Boston Bruins will look to keep pace in the Atlantic Division when they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night.
The Bruins (48-25-5, 101 points) are three points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for third place in the division after posting a 3-1 triumph against the New York Rangers on Saturday. The win was Boston’s third in the team’s past four games following a three-game losing streak.
The Bruins were buoyed by the returns of forward David Pastrnak, defenseman Hampus Lindholm and goalie Linus Ullmark. Pastrnak had been sidelined eight games with an undisclosed injury, Lindholm missed seven games due to a lower-body ailment, and Ullmark sat out three with an undisclosed injury.
“This time of year is when you’re in the dog days, looking forward to the playoffs but still have to play games and play well … so it brings a littler bit of different energy in the room,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “It’s going to make a difference in your lineup. Other guys shift back down to where they’re best suited as well. Once you get the bump from them, you get guys back to their normal spots, and I just think it makes for a cleaner game.”
Pastrnak had a goal and an assist to reach 500 career points and bring his season total to 73 points, one shy of Brad Marchand for the team lead. Pastrnak is one goal away from reaching the 40-mark for the second time in his NHL career.
“It was nice that I was able to come back and help the team,” he said. “Obviously, it’s nice (to get 500 points). If you told me as a kid, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’m very humbled about it and happy.”
The Canadiens (20-48-11, 51 points) are coming off their eighth straight defeat with a 6-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. Montreal has been outscored 37-16 during its skid.
The Canadiens have allowed at least three goals in six of the seven losses and in 12 of their past 13 games overall.
“It (stinks) to lose,” forward Rem Pitlick said. “I think as a team, as an athlete, there is that fire and frustration when you lose. We’re (angry), but we’re just going to keep working. There’s nothing you can do other than try to keep getting better, and hopefully it bounces in your favor. We’re doing what we can do to control it.”
The scoring touch has been hard to come by this season for Brendan Gallagher, who is stuck at a career-low six goals in 53 games. The 29-year-old, who recorded consecutive 30-plus goal seasons in 2018-19 and 2019-20, brings a nine-game goal drought into Sunday’s contest and has tallied just twice in his past 34 games.
“I’m a process guy,” Gallagher said. “You continue to get those chances, continue to do the right things, they’ll go in. Maybe not this year, but they’ll go in. I haven’t lost belief in myself. I still know I’m capable of scoring goals, regardless of results. It’s just a matter of me understanding some areas to improve and some areas that are the bread and butter of my game that I need to continue to do.”
–Field Level Media