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Bruins Set for Playoff-Like Contest

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – For the second consecutive game, the Boston Bruins are battling an Eastern Conference team clinging to a playoff spot.

After beating the Buffalo Sabres (who are just two points out of the playoff race) on Thursday, the Bruins are prepared to take on the Washington Capitals today at TD Garden.

The Caps (33-28-6) sit in eight place in the conference with 72 points, and the Bruins know their opponent is going to play tough as they try to fight off the Winnipeg Jets and the Sabres for the last spot.

“They’re coming off a big win last [Thursday] and you know they’re going to come in hard,” Bruins forward Chris Kelly said. “Every team seems to be playing desperate at this time of the year so just another good battle and game.”

The Black & Gold (40-23-3) trail the Rangers and sit in second place with 83 points, but Kelly said that regardless of the team’s high standing, they’re not excluded from the label of a desperate team.

“I don’t think that takes us out of the equation,” Kelly said. “We want to win every game and get every point that we can, just like everyone else.”

The Bruins are also involved in a tight race of their own, as they try to fend off the Ottawa Senators from overtaking the Northeast Division lead. The Sens (36-25-8) are just three points behind the Bruins.

But after a rather rough stretch, the Bruins have seemed to find their game and look like the well-rounded team fans saw in November and December.

The mentality has changed in the locker room, too, as the team prepares for a playoff run.

“I like the direction we’re heading into, and I like the approach of our guys before the games,” Boston Bruins Head coach Claude Julien said. “You can see that they’re slowly getting in to that, I guess that groove of understanding how important every game is from here on in.

“You got Ottawa that just won’t go away, and we got to keep playing good hockey and hopefully, like I said when the playoffs come around, you want to be in a position where you’re feeling very confident, energetic and ready to go.”

--- Anthony Gulizia
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