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Preview: Bruins at Senators

Boston trails Ottawa by two points for second place in Atlantic Division

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

BRUINS (34-25-6) at SENATORS (35-22-6)

7:30 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, NESN, NHL.TV


Bruins team scope

The Boston Bruins trail the Ottawa Senators by two points for second place in the Atlantic Division; the Senators have two games in hand. The Bruins and Senators play the first of three games during the stretch run of the regular season. "We know the importance of this game," center Patrice Bergeron said. "We know where we stand in the standings, we know every point and every game is important. It's a divisional game, but obviously right now we're working to get into the [Stanley Cup Playoffs] and stay there. That's our focus." Boston is 8-2-0 since Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien as coach Feb. 7. One of the differences under Cassidy has been more production from the defensemen, who have scored nine of their 27 goals this season in the 10 games since Cassidy became coach. "Every team has that kind of mindset, that the D has to support the attack when the opportunity presents," captain Zdeno Chara said. "I think we are not any different than any other team." Goalie Tuukka Rask will start.


Senators team scope

The Senators have won two straight games for the first time since Feb. 14-16, and are 9-7-1 in their past 17 games and 6-4-0 in their past 10. "This is going to be as close to the [playoffs] as you can get," forward Mike Hoffman said. "It's a great test for both teams to try and get us geared up for the postseason. These are the games you want to take part in. They are always the most fun to play. They feel the best when you come away with the two points." Coach Guy Boucher will tweak his lines again, moving Hoffman with centerJean-Gabriel Pageau and Tom Pyatt. Ryan Dzingel, who had been on that line, will play with center Kyle Turris and Zack Smith. The Senators penalty kill was 3-for-4 in a 3-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday and is 24-for-26 (92.3 percent) in Ottawa's past eight home games. Goaltender Craig Anderson will start his third straight game.


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Backes

Peter Cehlarik -- David Krejci -- David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano -- Ryan Spooner -- Drew Stafford

Tim Schaller -- Dominic Moore -- Riley Nash

Zdeno Chara -- Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug -- Adam McQuaid

Kevan Miller -- Colin Miller

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Jimmy Hayes, John-Michael Liles, Matt Beleskey

Injured: None


Senators projected lineup 

Ryan Dzingel -- Kyle Turris -- Zack Smith

Alexandre Burrows -- Derick Brassard -- Mark Stone

Mike Hoffman -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Tom Pyatt

Viktor Stalberg -- Chris Kelly -- Tommy Wingels

Marc Methot -- Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf -- Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki -- Chris Wideman

Craig Anderson

Mike Condon

Scratched: Fredrik Claesson, Jyrki Jokipakka, Chris DiDomenico

Injured: Chris Neil (broken finger), Bobby Ryan (broken finger), Clarke MacArthur (concussion) 


Status report

The Bruins will use the same lineup from their 3-2 win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. … McQuaid expects to play after he was nicked in the neck by Backes' skate blade in the closing seconds of the third period Saturday. "Felt like myself out there. Felt good," McQuaid said. "Definitely think I had a little help from the man upstairs, for sure. It was a close call and I definitely feel very fortunate."… Phaneuf missed the morning skate because of an illness and will be a game-time decision. If he can't play, Claesson will skate with Karlsson and Methot with Ceci.


Who's hot

Bergeron has 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 15 games. … Marchand has 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists) in 15 games. … Rask is 5-2-0 with 14 goals against and one shutout in his past seven starts. … Karlsson has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in his past 10 games. … Stone has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past six games. … Anderson is 5-1-0 with 11 goals against in his past six starts.

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