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Canadiens At Bruins: Boston Hosts Montreal In Key Northeast Division Battle

A night after scoring five goals in the the third period of a 7-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Boston Bruins are back in action, hosting the rival Montreal Canadiens Thursday night in a Northeast Division battle. 

The Canadiens (9-5-1) currently sit atop the Northeast Division, two points ahead of the Bruins (8-3-1). This is their first meeting of 2010. 

(Sports Network) - The Boston Bruins had their biggest offensive output of the season last night and will try to duplicate that surge when they welcome the Montreal Canadiens for this evening's Northeast Division battle at TD Garden.

Tonight marks the first meeting of the season between these Original Six rivals. Montreal won five of six encounters in 2009-10 and the Habs have recorded 17 victories in the last 23 meetings. The Canadiens have also claimed victory in three straight and eight of their previous 11 trips to Beantown.

Boston scored five times in the third period alone on Wednesday and skated away with a 7-4 victory over the hosting Pittsburgh Penguins. Shawn Thornton scored the tie-breaking goal during the furious third-period rally at CONSOL Energy Center.

Mark Recchi posted a goal and two assists against his former team, while Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, Blake Wheeler, Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand all lit the lamp for the Bruins.

"We came out in the third with a lot more determination than we showed in the first two periods," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "It's not too often you win a hockey game playing only one period but tonight was a night where we didn't feel we played very well for the first two."

Tim Thomas turned away 42 shots to extend his franchise-record win streak to start a season to eight consecutive games. Thomas has held on to his perfect record despite allowing more goals in his recent starts. He has surrendered nine goals over his last three games after yielding just three scores in his first six outings.

It's not certain if Thomas will start on back-to-back nights or if Tuukka Rask will get the call this evening.

Tonight marks the first of three straight on home ice for the Bruins, who are 2-2-1 as the host this year.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, will be trying to win consecutive games for the first time in nearly two weeks tonight. Montreal is 2-3-0 since a season-best four-game winning streak, but is coming off an impressive home win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Carey Price was the star for the Habs on Tuesday, as he outperformed Vancouver goaltender and Montreal native Roberto Luongo at the Bell Centre. Price, a native British Columbian, stopped all 34 shots he faced and earned his second shutout of the season in the 2-0 win.

"We played well both on offense and defense," said Price. "My guys helped me see the puck and they did a real good job of clearing the slot. They did everything they could to help me and also took care of rebounds."

Price has excellent numbers in 13 career starts against the Bruins, going 9-2-2 with a 2.39 goals-against average.

The Canadiens received both of their goals Tuesday from blueliners with Andrei Markov and Roman Hamrlik scoring from the back end. It was the first goal for Markov in five games since returning from offseason knee surgery.

Montreal is 5-2-0 on the road this season, but won't be away from the Bell Centre for very long. The club is set to begin a four-game homestand Saturday against Carolina.