Boston Bruins Causeway Gameday! Cleaning up the basement

BUFFALO, NY - December 19: Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) shoots in on goal during an NHL game between the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres on December 19, 2017, at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY. (Jerome Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - December 19: Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) shoots in on goal during an NHL game between the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres on December 19, 2017, at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY. (Jerome Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Boston Bruins are within striking distance of first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.  What better way to help get them there than a visit from a struggling opponent.

It took a very long time for it to happen, despite being on an absolutely tear since December, but the NHL via Senior Writer Dan Rosen has finally recognized what the Boston Bruins are doing.  In their most recent version of their Super Sixteen teams in the NHL, the Bruins leapt from 3rd to 1st, passing the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights.

The Bruins (33-11-8, 74 points) currently sit only 3 points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, with two games in hand.  Now, the Bruins do have a pretty crazy schedule the rest of the way, as they had to cram 35 games into 69 days after the all-star break.  That means some back-to-backs along the way.

In fact, tonight’s game is the first leg of the Bs second back-to-back this week.  The Bruins had two original six matchups on Tuesday and Wednesday, and came out of them with 4 points.  After a tough game on Tuesday against Detroit, the Bruins absolutely demolished and demoralized the Rangers on Wednesday.

Boston Bruins
NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 07: Adam McQuaid /

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The Bruins are on a roll, and in come the basement-dwelling Buffalo Sabres.  The only thing the Sabres are competing for this season, at 15-29-10, 40 points, is a better chance to get the first overall pick in the draft lottery.

Schedule

The game tonight takes place at the TD Garden in Boston, MA, after the Bruins had a brief two-game road trip.  Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm, and the game will be on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

What to watch for

The Bruins 4th line will still be missing their right winger, Noel Acciari, who remains out for tonight’s game.  Head coach Bruce Cassidy has indicated that they hope Acciari can return tomorrow, as he has been skating with the team.  Pretty soon, the Tim Schaller-Sean Kuraly-Noel Acciari trio will be reunited.

Tuukka Rask will be starting between the pipes today, with Anton Khudobin taking the crease tomorrow night.  What Rask has done since late November is nothing short of incredible.  He has a 21 game point streak since November 29th, going 19-0-2 in that time frame.  In his career, Rask has a 13-5-1 record against the Sabres, with a .934 save percentage and 2.06 GAA, which is pretty stellar.  Khudobin started both games against Buffalo this season before tonight.

Next: Why the Boston Bruins should trade for Vanek

Brad Marchand returned from his five-game suspension on Wednesday against the Rangers, and it was as if he hadn’t missed a beat.  He and linemate Patrice Bergeron looked as locked in as they usually are.  Expect big things from the first line tonight against 3.30 goals per game.