Thursday, March 30th the Boston Bruins (40-30-6) take on the Dallas Stars (31-34-11) at the Garden, in a game that the Bruins need to get 2 points out of. The Bruins are currently 3 points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lighting for the last wild card spot, and 1 point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for 3rd place in the Atlantic Division. If the Bruins don’t want to see the world-beating Washington Capitals in the first round they need to find a way to rip the Leafs out of that 3rd spot and claim it as their own. Toronto will be taking on the Nashville Predators, and Tampa will be facing off against the Detroit Red Wings. If both Toronto and Tampa win the Bruins need to get points tonight to keep pace.

Boston is on a 2 game winning streak, and is trying to put a horrendous 4 loss stretch firmly in the review mirror. Boston’s last two wins have been good, but it’s not enough to make fans forget the haunting memories of Boston’s playoffs hopes crashing and burning down the final stretch in the last 2 seasons. If Boston wants to punch a ticket to the big dance, they will most likely need around 9 points out of the remaining 6 games. With the Chicago Blackhawks and the Capitals looming Boston needs to get all the points possible out of games like this one. The Bruins are at home against a lackluster Stars team, that has nothing to play for except pride. This game should be a lay-up for the Bruins, but they need to build on what they did on Tuesday if they want to cash in. Last time out, the Bruins played smart, defensive hockey. They limited Nashville’s chances around the net, stuck with their assignments and didn’t give up any easy looks at Rask. Most notably they blocked a TON of shots. On offense, they got the puck into the zone, made smart plays to keep possession, and cashed in when they got opportunities. That is exactly the brand of smart, mistake free hockey Boston needs to play tonight.

The Stars are coming off a 4-1 loss to our old friend Claude Julien and the Montreal Canadiens. Its been a rough year for the Stars who have had a huge letdown season after making the playoffs and winning 50 games last year. Despite having $10,400,000 tied up in goaltenders Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi, the Stars rank an abysmal 28th in goals allowed this season. A lot of those goals have come against the penalty kill, which ranks dead last in the NHL. Sending someone to the box is like a death sentence to these guys, they couldn’t kill a penalty with a hunting rifle. The Bruins need to play hard enough to draw penalties, and they need to capitalize when they get on the power play. The Stars best player is Tyler Seguin (who I still think about every day). Seguin has notched 70 points this season with 25 goals and 45 assists.

The Bruins are looking to win 3 straight and Tuukka Rask is looking to continue to keep the haters quiet with another great performance. If Rask can play a good strong game, with the team in front of him continuing to play the way have the last 2 games, the Bruins will be leaving the building tonight with another win.

Projected Lineups

Bruins 

  • Marchand – Bergeron – Backes
  • Stafford – Krejci – Pastrnak
  • Beleskey – Spooner – Hayes
  • Moore – Nash – Acciari
  • Chara – Carlo
  • Krug – McQuaid
  • C. Miller – K. Miller
  • Rask

Stars

  • Benn – Eakin – Hemsky
  • Elie – Seguin – Ritchie
  • Dickson – Faksa – Shore
  • McKenzie – Cracknell – Spezza
  • Lindell – Klingberg
  • Nemeth – Pateryn
  • Hamuis – Johns
  • Lehtonen