Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the Bruins' 3-1 win over the Canadiens

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Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the Bruins' 3-1 win over the Canadiens

GOLD STAR: He only played 9:04 of ice time, but the return of David Backes made a difference for the Boston Bruins. The 35-year-old was able to put a great one-timer shot on a picture-perfect David Krejci pass from the half-wall and roofed it past Carey Price for the powerplay game-winning goal in the third period. Never mind that it was Backes’ first goal of the season, but to have that kind of timing and ability to put everything on that shot after not playing for a month was pretty impressive stuff.

Backes finished with a goal, three shots on net, five shot attempts and a couple of hits while going 3-for-3 on face-offs and showed that he’s going to be able to help this Bruins team when healthy and armed with his good skating legs. It was simply a feel-good moment for Backes and the Bruins after enduring a rough month following his nasty collision with Scott Sabourin on the ice.

BLACK EYE: Somehow Claude Julien was complaining about it after the game, but Nick Cousins’ holding play on Torey Krug to set up the game-winner in the offensive was as dumb as it was the right call. Then to add insult to injury it was Cousins that played half-hearted defense in front of the net on the give-and-go play with Jake DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle to allow an insurance score for the Black and Gold.

Aside from those two hideous plays in the third period, Cousins with a minus-1 and one shot on net in 16:09 of completely non-descript play in the game. When it mattered, though, Cousins screwed up a couple of times and played a big role in the Habs imploding in the final 20 minutes of the game. But he certainly wasn’t alone on a sinking ship that’s lost eight games in a row.

TURNING POINT: Just a few minutes before David Pastrnak got the Bruins on the board in the third period, Brendan Gallagher was all alone on a breakaway after a disastrous turnover by Charlie McAvoy while Montreal held a 1-0 lead. Tuukka Rask got his body on the forehand bid from Gallagher to make certain it stayed a one-goal game for the Bruins and roughly three minutes later Pastrnak had scored and tied things up at one apiece.

It was part of a strong 28-save night for Rask overall, but it was a massive save at an important time in the game that helped set up three straight goals for the B’s in the third period to take the two points away from the Habs.

HONORABLE MENTION: David Pastrnak now has 25 goals on Dec. 1, which is a pretty thing in and of itself. But it’s also how he scored flying up the wing and zinging one past Carey Price from the face-off dot off the rush and then kick-starting the B’s offense with his game-breaking ability. Once Pastrnak scored it seemed like the B’s got things into gear and the rest of the offense followed.

Perhaps most impressive of all, though, was No. 88 continuing to play hard even as big-bodied Habs players like Joel Armia and Shea Weber were taking big-time physical shots at him. It’s clear as he continues to score that other teams are going to target him physically and they did on Sunday night. But Pastrnak played through it, scored his goal as payback in the third period and finished with six shot attempts and a couple of hits in 20:37 of ice time.

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 – the number of consecutive games on home ice with a point to start the season for the Bruins. The B’s are 11-0-4 at TD Garden this season in the best streak in franchise history since they started the year 19-0-2 all the way back in 1973-74.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I think you see it on my face. That was elation.” –David Backes on scoring the game-winning goal for the Bruins in the third period after sitting out the previous 13 games with a concussion.

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Slumping Bruins say matchup against Capitals 'should get our attention'

Slumping Bruins say matchup against Capitals 'should get our attention'

The Bruins are always wary going into Capital One Arena given the recent history between the Bruins and Washington Capitals, where the Caps have dominated the Black and Gold for the better part of the last 10 years.

Sure, the Bruins have sprinkled in a win here or there, but the big, fast and skilled Capitals team has routinely pushed Boston around in these matchups between Eastern Conference powers and was the victor in the only recent playoff series between the two teams way back in 2012.

This season, the Capitals and Bruins are No. 1 and No. 2 in the Eastern Conference in terms of record and points through the first two-plus months of the season, and Washington won in a shootout in the teams' only matchup earlier this season in Boston.

Both teams lost in their last games, so there will be hunger for both elite clubs to get back into the win column. But things should be a lttle more desperate for a Bruins team that’s lost three games in a row, including back-to-back regulation games for the first time this season, and has seen their lead in the division “drop” to 10 points with a surging Florida Panthers club chasing them.

“Over the years they have had the better of us, so we’d better be ready to play. Their record this year backs that up,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We’re more concerned about ourselves, but the opposition tonight should get our attention. We’ll see how it all plays out.”

More than anything, however, the Bruins have seemed to lack focus or motivation in the last couple of weeks with forgettable opponents like the Senators and Blackhawks getting the better of them while they hold a commanding lead in their own division. It goes without saying that the challenge of the big, tough and dangerous Capitals should be exactly what the Bruins need to rise to the occasion, and that will be followed on Thursday night by a date with the Tampa Bay Lighting in Amalie Arena.

“[The Capitals] are obviously very dominant. They’ve had our number over the last several years, so it’s definitely one we tend to pay a little more attention to,” said Brad Marchand. “It’s always a hard building to play in. [It’s] a loud, obnoxious crowd so they gain energy from that. It’s a game we know we have to be prepared for. It doesn’t always go our way, so hopefully this one will.”

If anything can snap the Bruins out of their recent self-induced slumber over the last week, it’s the natural challenge of playing against a Capitals team that’s served as the ultimate challenge for them over most of the last decade.

Watch tonight's Bruins-Capitals game on NBCSN beginning at 7 p.m., or live stream the game by clicking here.


Bruins vs. Capitals live stream: Watch NHL game online

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Bruins vs. Capitals live stream: Watch NHL game online

The two-best teams in the Eastern Conference (and perhaps the entire NHL, too) will square off Wednesday night when the Washington Capitals host the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena.

The Capitals lead the league with 49 points and have won seven of their last 10 games. Washington's offense has been red-hot with a league-leading 114 goals scored in 32 games.

The Bruins have 46 points atop the Atlantic Division, but their recent play has failed to impress. The B's have lost three consecutive games, including a lackluster 5-2 defeat to the Ottawa Senators on Monday night. Wednesday's matchup is the second in a four-game road trip for Boston. This trip also includes tough games against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers.

The Capitals have owned this matchup in recent seasons. Washington has won 15 of its last 16 games against Boston, as well as the most recent playoff series between these teams in 2012. 

Will the Bruins end their losing streak and send a message to the rest of the East with a statement win on the Capitals' home ice? Here's how to watch Bruins vs. Capitals on your computer or mobile device.

When: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Network
Live Stream: NBC Sports

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