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Pregame Notebook vs. Columbus

by Hannah Becker / Boston Bruins – Tonight, when the Boston Bruins invade the Nationwide Arena for their only tilt with the Columbus Blue Jackets this season, the B’s will look to snap a season-longest four game losing streak.

Entering tonight’s game, Boston remains in first place in the Northeast Division and third in the Eastern Conference.

With Montreal in action against Washington tonight, the Canadiens could tie the Bruins at 85 points with a victory and a Boston loss. However, the B’s would hold on to the division lead, having played fewer games this season.

With a Montreal and Bruins win, Boston would be two points closer to the Capitals for second place in the conference, trailing Washington by three points and the East-leading Philadelphia Flyers by four points.

Boston enters tonight’s game 6-2-2 in its last ten, and 7-3-0 in its last ten road games.

The Blue Jackets this evening eight points out of a playoff position with a 32-27-9 record for 73 points.

Columbus is 3-4-3 in its last ten and 4-4-2 in its last ten at home.

On the road again
As Bruins head out for its final extended road trip of the season, the team is looking to bounce back from a four-game losing streak. 

The B’s start the trip with two Western Conference match-ups, against Columbus Tuesday night and Nashville on Thursday, before traveling to Toronto for a Saturday night tilt.

A silver lining in the trip may be the fact that, once again, the B’s are heading on the road where they have a 22-9-4 record and have picked up 48 of their 85 points.

Entering tonight’s tilt, the Bruins have the third best road league in the league and the best in the Eastern Conference.

"We’ve obviously been really good on the road throughout the season. But it’s an opportunity for us to get away, just focus on playing and start picking up these points against some tough teams coming up here,” Campbell said. 

“The focus is on taking it game by game, I think we’ve been good on the road because we’ve kept it smart, played simple, played hard and haven’t tried to do anything spectacular, just play a smart, simple road game and just pick up those points.”

However, the B's have also kept their road success in perspective.

“I don’t want to blow it out of proportion,” forward Shawn Thornton said. “We’ve been good on the road but I’m not afraid of home either… whatever the situation is we’ll focus on playing the game, it shouldn’t matter what building we’re in.”

Goaltender Tim Thomas agreed, citing the rink dimensions of proof that there is no difference between home and road games.

“Theoretically it doesn’t matter if you’re home or on the road, it’s the same game,” Thomas said. “The ice surface is pretty close to the same size, the net is certainly the same size no matter where we go.”

Cuts for a Cause
The Boston Bruins announced yesterday that 15 players will participate in the fourth annual “Cuts for a Cause” event on April 7. 

Shawn Thornton, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference, Nathan Horton, Steven Kampfer, Chris Kelly, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Adam McQuaid, Daniel Paille, Rich Peverley, Tyler Seguin and Dennis Seidenberg will have their heads shaved by auction winners to show their support and raise money for children battling cancer. Bruins players not shaving their heads will donate $400 to the Boston Bruins Foundation.

All of the money raised at the event will be donated through the Boston Bruins Foundation and will benefit Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center's “Child Life Services Activities," “Shooting Stars" and "Very Important Brothers and Sisters" programs.

The fourth annual event will be held at Ned Devine’s in Boston and will be hosted by Fred "Toucher" Toettcher and Rich Shertenlieb of the Toucher & Rich show on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

B’s vs. the west
The B’s play its final two road games versus Western Conference opponents this week beginning tonight against Columbus and concluding Thursday night in Nashville.

Boston finalizes its Western Conference resume on March 29 with a home tilt against Chicago.

Entering tonight, the Bruins are 6-7-2 against the Western Conference with a 0-2-1 record against the Central Division, which both Columbus and Nashville call home.

Playing against teams, like Columbus and Nashville, which the B’s only see once every few years can present a difficult challenge. But the Bruins feel ready to face the opponents that lie ahead.

“Obviously the coaching staff did a good job preparing us for what we’re going to see. Everybody in here watches hockey and have seen both teams, Nashville and Columbus,” Campbell said. “Obviously we don’t play them a lot, but most teams around the league play the same now-a-days.”

Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien also feels his team is prepared and thinks the upcoming two games will be a good test for Boston.

“Both of them are teams that grind it out and that’s why I said it may not be a bad thing. We need to start grinding it out a little bit more and competing harder to get those spots and everything else,” he said. “That’s what they bring, they come hard and play every night and when you beat those teams, they’re not easy wins.”

“Nashville has been up and down in the standings and when you look back at Columbus they even went on a ten game winning streak…[but] hardly made any ground in the standings so it’s been tough for them as well.

“But for them to be able to do that, you know they’re a pretty good team also.”

Player Profile: Gregory Campbell
Gregory Campbell, the B’s energy line center, has been a welcome surprise to his teammates and coach this season. 

“I’ve seen him play a lot, playing against him and I always thought he was a really good player but to be honest with you, to me he’s an even better player than I had seen…when you see him everyday and you see what he brings night after night you learn to appreciate him even more,” Julien said of Campbell in late January.

The 27-year-old forward has a 10-12-22 scoring line through 66 games with Boston this season.

The B’s acquired Campbell during the offseason in a trade with the Florida Panthers that sent he Nathan Horton to Boston in exchange for Dennis Wideman and draft picks.

Previously, Campbell’s best statistical season came in the 2008-09 season when he had 13-19-32 totals for the Panthers.

Not only has the London, Ontario native been an offensive producer for Boston, he has also filled his role on the B’s grinding line better than most expected, making it one of the highest-producing, most consistent energy lines in the NHL.

His most recent goal came in the B’s 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

The tally was his 10th of the season and first since Feb. 17 against the Islanders, an eight game span without finding the back of the net.

Campbell, known in the dressing room by his nickname "Soupy" has been paired with fellow grinder Shawn Thornton this season, with the third spot on their line rotating between forwards Tyler Seguin and Daniel Paille after having been filled by Brad Marchand for much of the season.

Playing alongside instigator Thornton, Campbell has also stepped up his physical game, recording nine fights thus far this season.

The Bruins are 5-3-1 when Campbell drops the gloves.

”I think you have to kind of establish that identity for yourself in this league and I think that’s part of mine that occasionally I might have to do that,” Campbell said of the fighting aspect of his game.

“I kind of found my niche and it was with energy, you know (a) player that kills penalties and plays both sides of the rink and sometimes I had to do that.”
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