With one or two games in hand against all but the New York Islanders, the Boston Bruins must gain every possible point, starting with Washington on Thursday, in order to climb back into contention for the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
This weekend starts a four game stretch where the B’s will face the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, Montreal and New York in succession.
But before that most crucial stretch, the Black & Gold must deal with the young and talented Washington Capitals. Washington is 1-6-3 in their last ten games and comes off a tough loss on March 12, 4-2, in Atlanta to the Thrashers.
But don’t discount their abilities.
Power forward Alexander Ovechkin is their big dog and has 41 goals and 42 assists for 83 points. When he is not ordering room service on Sidney Crosby’s tab, he is scoring goals.
Lots of them.
He scored both Capitals goals against Thrashers in the loss on Monday and he has seven goals in his last eight games. Ovechkin’s 41 goals are good for third in the NHL.
Just behind Alexander the Great is the other great Alex, Alexander Semin -- he has 33 goals and 27 assists for 60 total points.
Not too shabby.
Hopefully all of the green hats given by the Bruins to the fans tomorrow night bring the team luck. Especially because the NHL scores were a mixed bag for the Bruins last night, with New York falling to Ottawa, 3-2, Toronto upending Tampa Bay, also 3-2, and Carolina tripping Florida, 3-1.
So as we head into home stretch, the standings look like this:
#. Team, GP, Pts
7. Islanders,69, 78
8. Carolina, 71, 78
9. Toronto, 70, 77
10. Rangers,70, 76
11. Montreal,71, 76
12. Boston, 69, 71
13. Florida, 70, 71
Word from Ristuccia was that the lines were the same as yesterday, and that there were no updates on anyone’s injury status.
Today’s lines:Kessel - Savard - Kobasew
Sturm - Bergeron - Bochenski
Tenkrat - Mowers - Chistov
Reich - ? - Hoggan
All seven D: Alberts, Allen, Chara, Ference, Ward, Wideman, York
Both goalies: Thomas, MacDonald
With 88 points, Mark Savard leads the team, and is seventh in the league. Savvy’s 67 assists are good for third in the NHL. Goalie Tim Thomas
is 29-22-4. The last time a Bruins netminder had 30 wins or better was Byron Dafoe in 2001-02. Should he get the start and win tomorrow, Thomas will join some pretty elite company in the NHL -- Rick DiPietro has 30 wins, and names like Turco (31 wins), Miller (32), Giguere (33) and Hasek (34) would then be within striking distance of the Tank.
If you haven’t picked up a ticket to the game, which includes The Joshua Tree performance, come on in to the box office. The B’s need all the support the Hub of Hockey can muster in this critical stretch.
Tickets are available for all home games online by clicking here
, at the TD Banknorth Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 617.624.BEAR.