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Columbus can clinch playoff berth; Boston looks to lock up second place in Atlantic

by Craig Merz / Correspondent

BRUINS (47-23-9) at BLUE JACKETS (45-30-4)



The Game

The Columbus Blue Jackets can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they play the Boston Bruins at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday.

Columbus would clinch with a win in any fashion combined with a Montreal Canadiens regulation loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Blue Jackets, who seek their sixth straight victory and their longest winning streak this season, hold the first wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes, who play at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Columbus is three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division; the Penguins visit the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.

The Bruins can clinch second place in the Atlantic Division if they gain one point in the standings on the Maple Leafs. Boston, 1-3-0 in its past four games, leads Toronto by four points with three games remaining.


Players to watch

Bruins forward David Pastrnak has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his past six games.

Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is 5-0-0 with a 0.80 goals-against average, .971 save percentage and three shutouts in his past five starts. 


They said it

"We've played two games we weren't at our best. Hopefully they bring out the best in us. That's the style they tend to play, a heavy playoff style." -- Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy on the Blue Jackets

"We're still in this race right now. That's where my mind is. After hopefully the playoffs and that long run, I'll reflect on it. But right now I'm focused on tonight." -- Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson, whose next goal will be his 42nd to break a tie with Rick Nash (2003-04) for most goals in a season in Columbus history


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk -- David Krejci -- Karson Kuhlman  

Marcus Johansson -- Charlie Coyle -- Chris Wagner

Joakim Nordstrom -- Noel Acciari -- David Backes

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk -- Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Connor Clifton, Steven Kampfer, Danton Heinen

Injured: Sean Kuraly (fractured hand), John Moore (upper body)


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Artemi Panarin -- Matt Duchene -- Cam Atkinson

Ryan Dzingel -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Josh Anderson

Boone Jenner -- Alexander Wennberg -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Brandon Dubinsky -- Riley Nash -- Nick Foligno

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Markus Nutivaara -- David Savard

Scott Harrington -- Dean Kukan

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Keith Kinkaid, Eric Robinson, Lukas Sedlak, Markus Hannikainen, Adam Clendening, Andrew Peeke

Injured: Ryan Murray (upper body), Adam McQuaid (upper body)


Status report

Wagner (lower body) will return after missing one game and replace Heinen.


Stat pack

Bergeron has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in his past eight games. … Marchand has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past six games. … Bjorkstrand has six goals in an NHL career-best five-game goal streak; seven of his 21 goals this season have come in the past seven games.

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