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While the majority of both teams remain intact there have been some minor alterations that could change the immediate future of the rivalry between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens. The immediate post trade deadline talk around Boston has centered on Montreal’s acquisition of notorious Bruin killer Thomas Vanek and the Bruins lack of a big move.
After coach Claude Julien and General Manager Peter Chiarelli publicly stated that they would be content moving forward with the team they had prior to the trade deadline they proved it by making only two small transactions to add some depth to the blue line. The team picked up defenseman Corey Potter off of waivers and then added defenseman Andrej Meszaros via a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers. The two players will add depth to a blue line that has lost Dennis Seidenberg to a season ending injury and has seen Adam McQuaid miss significant time with various injuries.
The Canadiens, on the other hand, went out and made a splash by acquiring Vanek. Just hearing the name Vanek should make any Bruins faithful cringe just a little. In 53 games against Boston, Vanek has recorded 30 goals and 31 assists. Of those goals, 14 have come on the power play and four have been game-winners. Vanek was not picked up just to face the Bruins, though, as he is a very skilled player who has scored 30 or more goals in a season four times.
This all brings us to Wednesday, March 12, when the Bruins head to Montreal to face the Canadiens. Boston is currently red hot, having won five straight games for the first time this season. The Bruins’ longest winning streak prior to this one had been four games and was ended by the Canadiens.
The Canadiens have lost two straight but have won the previous two games this season. They could potentially sweep the season series if they can win Wednesday’s game and the final meeting on Monday, March 24. Although they currently sit 12 points back of the Bruins in the Eastern Conference it is not inconceivable that Montreal could close that gap in their final 16 games (the Bruins still have two games in hand with 18 remaining).
While the rivalry between the two teams has always been heated, the addition of Vanek should only add another layer of intensity when the two teams meet on Wednesday night. Will Vanek continue to plague the Bruins? Will the Bruins new defenseman step up and make a name for themselves? Can the Bruins extend their win streak to a season high six games? These are questions that will only be answered Wednesday night in Montreal.