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    All-Centennial Team

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    Stanley Cup Champs

    Boston Bruins week ahead

    Tukka Rask scrambles to save loose puck

    The Boston Bruins finished off their week with a 2-0 loss to Washington, but picked up another crucial six out of eight points. Boston is still in the drivers seat for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference as Boston holds a five point lead over Ottawa for the final playoff spot. Boston is currently playing their best hockey of the year however as they are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. The loss to Washington on Sunday night snapped Boston's six game streak with consecutive points. Boston, in the month of March has tallied a total of 11 out of a possible 14 points. Over the past week Boston defeated Ottawa, Tampa Bay, and Pittsburgh, but could not close out the perfect week as Boston loss to Washington, Sunday night. 

    It is the start of a new week, and another week to gain more points with the hopes to jump over Washington for 7th to solidify their place in the playoffs. Boston resumes play Tuesday as the Bruins host the Buffalo Sabres who are currently headed to the lottery for a chance at the coveted number one pick in the upcoming NHL Draft this summer. Buffalo is 2-6-2 in their last 10 games, and will be playing the Bruins on short rest as Buffalo plays Washington tonight. Getting two points on Tuesday verse Buffalo is crucial. There is no such thing as easy points in the NHL, but when playing the last place team in the NHL two points are a must. Boston holds a 3-0 season series lead on Buffalo although two of those games were decided in overtime. It will be interesting to see who Claude Julian will start in goal for this matchup Tuesday as Niklas Svedberg has played in two of three meetings against Buffalo this season. In the two games Svedberg started against Buffalo he went 2-0, and had a 0.99 goals against average, with a .957 save percentage. 

    After Tuesday's matchup with Buffalo, Boston will go on a three game road trip along with the chance to play two teams in that span that the Bruins defeated last week. Boston will head to Ottawa Thursday for a pivotal game verse the Senators. Boston defeated Ottawa last Tuesday 3-1 in Canada's capital. Another massive two points will be on the line as Ottawa is five points back of Boston in 9th. Boston needs to capitalize on this opportunity to gain separation from Ottawa, who has a very tough up and coming schedule as Ottawa will face San Jose, and the New York Rangers at the start of next week. Ottawa however is also one of the hottest teams in hockey right now as the Senators are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games including back to back wins verse Montreal and the New York Islanders last Thursday, and Friday. At the very least Boston will need to gain 3 out of 4 points in the first two games of the week before heading to Florida for back to back games against Florida and Tampa Bay. 

    Boston will head down to the Sunshine State after being in Ottawa for two games in 22 hours. Boston will first face off against Florida on Saturday. Florida is still in the mix for the playoff hunt. Florida is currently six points out of the eighth and final spot that Boston holds. Florida is on the brink of fading out of the playoff race if Boston leaves the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida with a win. Boston and Florida play three times over the next 18 days. This will be the second meeting of the season for these two teams. Boston edged out Florida at TD Garden back in November, with a 2-1 win in overtime.

    Boston then takes their Florida road trip north to Tampa, as Boston faces off with the Lightning Sunday evening. Boston defeated Tampa last week 3-2 in a shootout win. Tampa currently sits in third place only four points back of first place in the Eastern Conference. Boston holds a 2-0 record verse the Lightning this year. It is tough to project where Boston will stand after the week because Boston will need losses from Washington, Pittsburgh, and Detroit this week to jump up in the standings coming down the final stretch. Boston ideally needs to gather six out of a possible eight points. The three games that Boston will really need to buckle down and gain points will be those games against Buffalo, Ottawa, and Florida. With only 13 games remaining and points at a premium Boston needs to keep building on their game, and simply find ways to win and close out games.

    All Stats via NHL.com

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