If it always seems like the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens are vying with each other for first place in their division, it’s not your imagination. The Thursday night opening meeting of the season between the B’s and Habs at the Bell Centre will also be the fifth consecutive regular season game between the two rivals with first place on the line.

That covers all four meetings last season when the two Original Six club members were within a point of each other, and Thursday night’s game with the Bruins heading into Montreal leading the newly constructed Atlantic Division by a solitary point. It’s something that Bruins power forward Milan Lucic most definitely picked up on, but then again he’s a guy that always studies the numbers and the trends within the game.

They don’t call him the Bruins’ own “Bob McKenzie” for nothing, as he scouted a Montreal team that’s had good starts from Carey Price, P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec among others.

“They’re 7-0-1 in their last eight games, and now they’re a point behind us,” said Lucic, of Montreal. “It always seems to be one of this big games [against Montreal], and it’s no different tonight. There’s a lot to look forward to.