BOSTON - The Bruins won't let themselves glide into the postseason.
They still have home ice to play for, when they host the Ottawa Senators in Game No. 81 on Thursday night at TD Garden.
Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.
"It gives us the opportunity to play for something that's important, especially at this time of the year, a few games left in the season, you want to make sure you continue to play a certain way and get ready playoffs," Captain Zdeno Chara said following the team's pregame skate on Thursday morning at Warrior Ice Arena. "You don't get complacent and are still going forward and setting goals."
Home ice would be a nice advantage for the Black & Gold so start the first round.
"I think that we always want to use that home ice advantage to build something positive, and I think that we've done that," said Chara. "It's been a little bit of an issue for us in the past, and I think that now we feel very comfortable playing at home.
"And it's not necessarily going to automatically give us wins, but you want to make sure you use that home-ice advantage, and feel good playing in front of your fans," Chara said.
"Well, I'd rather play here, to be honest with you, but I think our road record indicates that we're very comfortable on the road," said Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. "And now our home record indicates that we're playing well here, getting leads, and putting teams on their heels."
"Going forward, we're going to be fine, however it plays out, but again, I think anytime you can be at home, there's always advantages, whether you look at it at the start of the series or if it goes seven games, however it plays out, most teams would want their home ice, if they had their choice."
"I don't think we're any different, but again, we'll see how that works out for us," said Cassidy. "I like the way we've played in this building and I think the fans have gotten behind us, and they make a difference as well, they give us some energy, and when you get all that going, it's a nice atmosphere."
The Bruins have yet to defeat the Senators this season, going 0-3 in the three previous matchups (with 3-2, 3-1 and 4-2 losses).
"When you play a team the number of times we have in our division, obviously you want to get your share of wins against them," said Cassidy. "But it's more about where we're playing right now, how we're playing, play to our standard, continue winning ways going into the playoffs."
The Black & Gold will aim for their seventh straight win against the Senators, but they'll have to do so without their leading scorer.
The NHL Department of Player Safety announced on Thursday afternoon that Brad Marchand has been suspended for two games for spearing Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin.
Marchand was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for the incident, which occurred during the first period of Tuesday night's game against the Lightning at TD Garden.
After pregame skate, the decision had not yet been announced. Either way, the Bruins were going to continue their same gameday preparation.
"We have to obviously focus on tonight and how we're going to do and play, things on the ice against Ottawa," said Chara. "Obviously this is a decision that's going to be made this afternoon, whether Brad is going to be with us or not, we have to be ready and play."
Without Marchand in the lineup, game-time decisions will be made for the forwards.
Frank Vatrano, Tim Schaller, and Jimmy Hayes all skated on Thursday, and could be options up front, if they are cleared to play.
"They're skating right now. We'll go visit with the training staff, but again, those will all be game-time decisions, whether they're able to get in or not," said Cassidy.
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson's status remains in limbo, while he awaits his immigration status.
"We'll see where he fits in, if and when that comes true," said Cassidy.
The defense corps will remain the same as against Tampa Bay. Tuukka Rask will start between the pipes.
Video: Brad Marchand suspended two games for spearing