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And we’re baaaaaaaaaaack…

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
It’s been a restful Sunday here in the garden spot of the universe and the local football team cheered us all up after the B’s tripped-up last night.

I sat in the office last night, after finishing my game story, thinking how different the outcome of the game could have been had the non-goal been a goal.

But enough about that, let’s look ahead.

This week the Bruins face Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal in succession.

Following an early practice tomorrow, the B’s will head for Canada’s capital and a date with the team directly ahead of them in the Eastern Conference playoff standings -- just three points ahead, in fact, 35 to 32.

Ottawa also remains tied with Pittsburgh and the NY Islanders at 35. But as of 6:00 on Sunday, 36 points are needed to tie the Hurricanes and Devils.

On a positive note: Our Boys have at least one game-in-hand on EVERY team ahead of them in the East.

But the first challenge wear red, white and black.

Ottawa, now 17-16-1, and 4th in the Northeast, are a formidable opponent, just like every other team in the division.

They defeated Buffalo (BUFFALO!) on Saturday night, 3-1 and the AP reports that "the Sens" have handed the Sabres three of their six regulation losses this season."


Jason Spezza leads the Senators in every offensive category with a 19-24-43 line.

Ray Emery has been the guy in goal for Ottawa, earning a 12-7-0 record in 21 games. He has a .920 save percentage, a 2.52 goals-against-average and one shutout.

Then, the B’s will charter south for a day of practice and a contest with the Vancouver Canucks at the TD Banknorth Garden on Thursday night.

At this moment, Vancouver resides in the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and stand second in their Northwest Division. The Canucks, now 17-15-1, are led by all-world goalie Roberto Luongo.

Luongo, a native of Montreal, is 17-13-1, with a .913 SV% and a 2.42 GAA. He adds 2 shutouts to the mix -- and in the new NHL that is no small feat.

Henrik Sedin leads Vancouver with 32 points, while Markus Naslund has 12 goals.

And finally, as sort of a holiday "gift’’ for hockey fans (and certainly not for the B’s themselves), the Montreal Canadiens will arrive in Boston on Saturday to round out the week and into the NHL’s break on December 24th and 25th.

I hate to say it true-believers, but Les Glorieux are on a roll.

Coming into the week, the Habs (19-8-5, 2nd Northeast, 4th in the Eastern Conference) are 6-2-2 in their last ten.

Le Bleu-Blanc-et-Rouge is just a really solid team -- possibly owing to the example set by their feisty, talented captain, Saku Koivu.

Koivu, a native of Turku, Finland, leads Le Grand Club with 33 points and 14 goals. In goal, Christobal Huet has been Roy-like with a 13-3-3 record and a .932 SV% and a 2.29 GAA. He, like Luongo, has two shutouts.

It should be a very interesting week, folks. Keep it here.
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