Rolling along

Thanks to some stingy defense, the Boston Bruins are rolling.

They'll be trying for their fifth straight win Monday when they visit the Montreal Canadiens.

The Bruins (5-2-0) beat the New York Rangers 1-0 in a shootout on Saturday. In his first start since Oct. 12, Manny Fernandez stopped 26 shots for his 14th career shutout.

Fernandez, signed as a free agent during the offseason to bolster Boston's goaltending, had allowed a total of 10 goals in his first two starts of the season.

"We definitely know that he's capable of that kind of game, and it's certainly good for his confidence," coach Claude Julien told the Bruins' official team Web site.

Tim Thomas allowed just two goals on 63 shots in Boston's previous two games and owns a 1.26 goals-against average in four contests. The Bruins have allowed two or fewer goals in all but two of their seven games so far this season and are allowing an average of just 2.14 per contest.

Boston has yielded just four power play goals on 28 chances this season and none in 13 chances in its last three games.

"It's great, but actually the guys played well defensively," Fernandez said of his shutout on Saturday. "They were strong handling rebounds and taking them away."

Phil Kessel scored the lone goal in the shootout Saturday for Boston, which had managed 14 goals in its previous three games. The second-year center, who had four shootout winners last season, is tied with three others for the team lead with three goals.

He had two goals and four assists in six games against the Canadiens (3-2-2) last season.

"Right now we are playing pretty good D," Kessel said. "You have to play day in and day out. Hopefully we can get some more wins."

Saturday's game wrapped up a brief two-game homestand for the Bruins, who started the season on a 3-2 road trip. Now, they are heading to Montreal, where they have dropped three straight and seven of eight since the start of the 2005-06 season.

Overall, Boston has dropped 12 of its last 16 games against the Canadiens.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Montreal -134 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 55% of bets for this game have been placed on Montreal -134 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

Montreal ended a three-game losing streak on Saturday, beating Buffalo 4-2. Roman Hamrlik had a goal and two assists and was credited with the eventual game-winner when his shot off the end boards went in off defenseman Toni Lydman.

Kyle Chipchura scored his first NHL goal and Bryan Smolinski, playing in his 999th regular-season game, also scored for the Canadiens, who had just five goals during their losing streak.

"To be honest, I didn't know what to do with myself, and everything happened so fast," Chipchura told the Canadiens' team site of his first goal. "It just feels good to get it out of the way and help the guys pick up the win tonight."

Cristobal Huet stopped 25 shots and owns a 2.14 GAA in five starts this season. He is 5-2 with a 2.04 GAA in eight career starts against the Bruins.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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