For one of the first times this season Bruins head coach Claude Julien  has completely scrubbed the pre-game morning skate at the TD Banknorth Garden  prior to tonight’s grudge match against the Montreal Canadiens . Though the Black and Gold have clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference, the game still has playoff ramifications for a Habs squad that’s currently situated as the seventh seed — but hasn’t yet clinched a playoff berth. A Bruins’ win could drop the Canadiens to the eighth spot and set up a potentially explosive Bruins vs. Canadiens match in the first round of the Stanley Cup  playoffs tentatively set to begin next Thursday.
Three injured Bruins — Dennis Wideman , P.J. Axelsson and Chuck Kobasew  — are being considered day-to-day, and would have had their playing fates for tonight answered during the morning skating session. Now that will have to wait until game time. The Bruins media relations staff called with the news around 8:15 a.m., and gave advanced notice that there would be no “players or coaches” reporting to the Garden until just hours before game time. The playoffs may be starting a week early with tonight’s showdown against Montreal.