Bruins can clinch playoff spot with win tonight against Islanders.


Jan 25, 2013; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro (39) blocks a shot by Boston Bruins left wing Daniel Paille (20) during the second period at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, the Boston Bruins(26-9-4)will be back at the TD Garden to take on the New York Islanders(20-16-4). Tonight’s game will be crucial for both teams. The Islanders are on the verge of clinching their first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the 2006-07 season.  At present, New York currently holds seventh place in the Eastern Conference. However, they are  tied with both the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers at 44 points each. The Islanders will need to do everything they can to try and get a point here if they want to stay in the race.

Boston, on the other hand is doing pretty well. The Bruins regained the division lead with Wednesday’s 5-4 victory against the New Jersey Devils. They currently have a one point lead over the Habs going into tonight’s game, and will need a win not only to guarantee a place in the post-season, but to keep the seed as high as possible. The Bruins have beaten the Islanders if both previous match ups (4-1 and 4-2, respectively.)

The Bruins will likely still be down several key players for this game. Patrice Bergeron is still down from a concussion he sustained against Ottawa on April 2nd. We’re also likely to be down our leading scorer, Brad Marchand. Marchand was struck by Anton Volchenkov in the head in a very deliberate fashion. (He has a phone hearing at 10:45 with the Department of Player Safety regarding that hit. Expect a ‘Shanaban’ for that move.)  “After the second period, our trainer said he wasn’t going to be back,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said about #63. “Whether that’s being cautious or not, I don’t know. I’ll let our doctors give me the verdict before I say anything, but I haven’t talked to anybody about him since the game finished.”

The Islanders will be going into this game down a few players of their own. Currently, New York defensemen Brian Strait (ankle) and Joe Finley (undisclosed) will likely be out for the game as well.