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Playoff Positions at Stake Tonight

Caps vs. B's has far-reaching implications

Thursday, 03.29.2012 / 12:04 PM / Features
By Anthony Gulizia  - BostonBruins.com
BOSTON, MA – When the Boston Bruins take the ice tonight against the Washington Capitals, there’s no doubt that special, playoff-type atmosphere will be present inside the TD Garden.

A lot is at stake for both teams, as the Bruins (45-28-3, 93 points) can clinch a playoff spot with a win (regulation or overtime), while the Capitals (38-31-8, 84 points) are looking to break into the eighth-place playoff spot.

The Buffalo Sabres (38-29-10) beat the Capitals 5-1 on Tuesday to overtake the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, leaving Washington two points out of the playoff race going into tonight.

“Every game right now, the points are up for grabs for a lot of teams, especially with Washington being two points out,” Bruins forward Rich Peverley said. “But, we’re in a dog fight ourselves – we got teams chasing us down so I think it’s preparing us for the playoffs and it will be good definitely going towards the end of the season.”

After losing four straight games two weeks ago, the Bruins have won five of their last six contests and are starting to look more like the playoff-caliber team they expect themselves to be.

However, with just six games left in the regular season, now is not the time to get comfortable.

“As a team, [we] thought the game is coming along the last five games – we’ve been playing the way we want to,” Bruins forward David Krejci said. “But we can’t sit back and take any game lightly, we want to build our momentum and confidence going into the playoffs. We still got [six] games left, so we can do it and feel good about ourselves going into the playoffs.

“We definitely have to be ready [tonight]. We know [Washington] has some skill up front – [Alexander] Ovechkin and all those guys. So, we just have to play smart, pay attention to all the little details and we’ll go from there.”

Peverley said he expects a fast-paced game from the Capitals, but he doesn’t expect it to alter the Bruins strategy.

“Well, you know they’re always going to play at a high energy – they have such dynamic players – you always have to be aware of them on the ice,” Peverley said. “But it doesn’t really change our game plan – we try to go out and work as hard as we can to try and dominate.”

Like Krejci, Peverley also acknowledged that the Bruins are somewhat close to playoff form, and the intensity of tonight’s game will add to that.

Even though the Bruins have hit their stride just recently, Peverley said that it’s better than not happening at all.

“Well I think a lot of teams have been playing playoff hockey for a week or two, maybe even more,” Peverley said. “And we’re starting to see the games come down to who’s going to be in the spots, and there’s still some standings up for grabs and I think we want to hold our position to get into our playoff mode right now.

“You can’t just turn it on at playoff time, and going forward here we need to start building towards where we want to be.”

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
3 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
4 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
5 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
6 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
7 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
8 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Krejci 80 19 50 39 69
P. Bergeron 80 30 32 38 62
J. Iginla 78 30 31 34 61
M. Lucic 80 24 35 30 59
B. Marchand 82 25 28 36 53
R. Smith 82 20 31 28 51
C. Soderberg 73 16 32 4 48
Z. Chara 77 17 23 25 40
T. Krug 79 14 26 18 40
L. Eriksson 61 10 27 14 37
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 36 15 6 .930 2.04
C. Johnson 17 4 3 .925 2.10
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