SPORTS

NHL: 4 things to know for Thursday night

10/09/2014 11:09 EDT | Updated 12/09/2014 05:59 EST
Here's what you need to know for tonight's NHL games, including a potentially testy home opener for the Habs against Milan Lucic and the Bruins, Ottawa's weird home/road splits, and a showdown between perfect teams.

Tough talk

The Bruins and Canadiens meet (in Montreal's home opener at 7:30 p.m. ET) for the first time since the Habs' Game 7 victory in the second round of the playoffs. As if the rivalry — one of hockey's best — needed more spice, Boston bruiser Milan Lucic stirred up a controversy last spring by delivering some pointed words to the Habs' Dale Weise and Alexei Emelin in the post-series handshake line. 

"I'm going to [expletive-ing] kill you next year," is what Lucic appeared to say.

Scary, but maybe not as much as Montreal's last performance. The Habs were blown out 7-1 at Tampa Bay on Monday night, dropping their record to 3-1-0 on the season.

Boston (2-3-0) snapped a three-game losing streak with Wednesday's 3-2 shootout win at Detroit.

Lucic, by the way, is still looking for his first point of the season to go with his 14 penalty minutes.

Home at last (hopefully not last at home)

The other Canadian team in action is the Ottawa Senators (2-1-0), who play their home opener against the Colorado Avalanche (1-2-1) at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Ottawa went just 18-17-6 at home last season while giving up 3.24 goals per game. Only the Oilers, the NHL's worst defensive team, ranked lower in that department. But just to show how erratic these home/road splits can be, the Sens went 15-6-3 at home in the lockout-shortened 2013 season and surrendered 43 goals — tied for the best mark in the league.

Perfect pair

Six NHL teams still have perfect records, and two of them play tonight when San Jose (3-0-0) visits the Islanders (3-0-0), who are trying to start a season with four straight wins for the first time in 13 years.

Isles star John Tavares and second-year man Brock Nelson are tied for the league lead with seven points apiece, while San Jose's Tommy Wingels (great name) has three goals.

Horn of plenty

Pittsburgh (2-0-0) also puts its perfect record on the line when it hosts Dallas (1-1-1). The Penguins' attack looked terrific in potting 11 total goals in wins over Anaheim and Toronto, with usual suspects Sidney Crosby (three goals, three assists) and Evgeni Malkin (one goal, three assists) scoring big. Off-season acquisition Patric Hornqvist has reaped the rewards of playing on Crosby's wing, netting two goals and two assists.

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