The Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins will round out what has been a very special season series tonight at the Bell Centre, but a significant injury to Mike Komisarek may prevent Montreal from accomplishing the season-series sweep at 8-0.
Komisarek and the Montreeal Canadiens were dealt some bad news today, as both learned that Mike (the league leader amongst all NHL defensemen in hits and shots blocked) will miss the next three weeks due to what officials are only referring to as a "lower-body" injury. The injury will sideline Komisarek until the last couple of games at the very earliest, but is more likely to sideline him until the playoffs, with the possibility of him missing a few games in the 1st round.
It was also learned today that forward Guillaume Latendresse is suffering from neck spasms and will be scratched tonight, joining Komisarek on the sidelines.
Expected to be inserted into the lineup are forwards Bryan Smolinski and Steve Begin, as it appears that Mathieu Dandenault and Patrice Brisebois will continue to sit out with the team opting to convert Mark Streit back to defense.
Boston (37-28-9) are fighting valiantly to keep their playoff hopes alive - even though a high probability would have them facing their kryptonite-like Canadiens rivals in the first round. The Bruins have dropped to 8th in the standings with 83 points in 74 games, and have Washington nipping at their heels, as the Capitals are one point behind through 76 games. The Sabres follow up with 81 points through 75 games.
Boston's chances of gaining ground are highly improbable tonight as they visit the Habs at the Bell Centre, an arena where they've won but once in their last 12 visits. The Habs are winners of 10 straight against the Bruins at any builiding.
The Bruins can also thank the Canadiens (41-24-10) for being where they are in the standings.
If the Montreal games wouldn't have been played this season, the Bruins would have 5 more points than Montreal in the standings. You can also look at it this way: If the Bruins hadn't faced Montreal this year, they would have a 37-21-9 record, good for 83 points through 67 games.
Of course, the reality of it is that they DID face Montreal 7 times this season, and they DID lose 7 times to Montreal this season, and they ARE where they are because of it. Tonight's contest will likely be more about avoiding the sweep (and the humiliation) rather than gaining ground in the playoff race, a true rarity with teams going into the homestretch.
Puck drop slated for 7:08.