GAME: Boston Bruins (32-16-14-7) at Nashville Predators (33-25-8-2).
TIME: Tuesday, 8 p.m. EST.
The Boston Bruins continue their battle for the top spot in the muddled
Eastern Conference when they visit a Nashville Predators team trying to make
the playoffs for the first time.
Boston is among a handful of teams in the conference with a legitimate
chance of earning the No. 1 seed for the playoffs. The Bruins are currently in
fifth place in the East, but that positioning can change very quickly if they
continue their recent pace of earning points.
Boston came from behind to tie the Atlanta Thrashers 2-2 at home on
Saturday, earning at least one point for the 17th time in 19 games.
Mike Knuble scored a power-play goal with 5:14 left in the third period to
lift the Bruins into the tie.
"Obviously we don't feel good about the effort we had," Boston's Brian
Rolston said. "We were glad to get the point after they went up 2-1, but we
let them hang around too long."
Knuble assisted on the first goal and registered his 200th career point with
"I think he's the unsung hero on his line," Boston coach Mike Sullivan
said of Knuble, who plays alongside All-Stars Joe Thornton and Glen Murray.
"He does all the dirty work for those guys. He's a terrific two-way player
that does all the little things."
Nashville, in its sixth season in the NHL, has a good shot of making the
playoffs for the first time.
The Predators are tied with the Calgary Flames for sixth place in the
Western Conference, and are three points ahead of both the St. Louis Blues and
Los Angeles Kings for the eighth and final playoff berth.
Nashville, however, has been struggling of late.
The Predators lost 4-2 on the road to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, and
have just one victory in their last four games after winning five of six.
"We have to learn to bear down," Nashville forward Steve Sullivan said.
"Points are precious and we're in too deep into a dogfight to be giving up
points like that."
Forward Sergei Zholtok and defenseman Brad Bombardir, acquired from the
Minnesota Wild on Friday, are expected to make their Predators debuts Tuesday.
Boston is winless in its last three road contests, while Nashville is
unbeaten in its last five home games.
STANDINGS (through March 7): Bruins - 85 points, 3rd place, 1 PB, Northeast
Division. Predators - 76 points, 2nd place, 13 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Bruins - Murray, 28 goals; Thornton, 45 assists and 64 points;
Doug Doull, 117 PIM. Predators - Sullivan, 22 goals, 39 assists and 61 points;
Jordin Tootoo, 127 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 7): Bruins - Power play: 16.5 percent (41 for
249), 14th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.3 percent (230 for 276), 20th. Predators
- Power play: 17.7 percent (64 for 361), 8th. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent
(256 for 312), 24th.
GOALTENDERS: Bruins - Andrew Raycroft (22-16-8, 3 SO, 1.99 GAA); Felix
Potvin (10-7-6, 4, 2.57). Predators - Tomas Vokoun (30-23-7, 3, 2.56); Chris
Mason (3-4-1, 1, 2.28).
SEASON SERIES: Predators, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 28; Predators, 2-1. At Boston, Greg Johnson snapped a 1-1
tie with a power-play goal midway through the first period as the Predators won
at the FleetCenter for the first time since Dec. 21, 1999.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bruins - 18-7-6-5 on the road; Predators - 21-7-6-1 at