Blackhawks-Bruins Preview

While the Boston Bruins have already clinched a playoff spot,

the Chicago Blackhawks have plenty of work left in order to do the

same.

The Blackhawks look to build on a emotional victory to open a

three-game trip with a third straight win over the Bruins on

Tuesday night.

Chicago (41-26-8) remained eighth in the Western Conference with

a 3-2 overtime win at Detroit on Monday. Winners in three of four,

the reigning Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks are one point behind

seventh-place Anaheim and three ahead of ninth-place Calgary and

four up on 10th-place Dallas with seven games remaining.

Despite blowing a pair of one-goal leads against the Red Wings,

the Blackhawks were able to prevail and bounce back after giving up

a third-period lead in Saturday’s 2-1 home loss to the Ducks.

“We just have to keep it simple,” said forward Marian Hossa, who

scored the game-winner and added an assist Monday. “We’re coming

off a tough game and Boston is playing great now. We are real

desperate to get points.”

The Bruins (42-23-10), who earned a playoff berth with a 2-1

victory at Philadelphia on Sunday, are third in the East and four

points behind second-place Washington.

With seven games remaining and a seven-point lead over Montreal

in the Northeast Division, Boston still believes it has much to

play for down the stretch. Having a hungry Chicago club in town

also raises the bar.

“(Chicago is) a desperate team,” coach Claude Julien told the

Bruins’ official website. “Those kind of games should be helpful

for us to stay on top of ours and realize that if you are not ready

for games like that you can get embarrassed pretty easily.”

After losing four straight in the series, Chicago swept the

Bruins in 2009-10, including a 5-2 win at Boston on Jan. 7,

2010.

Though Hossa has been held without a point in six straight games

against Boston, he has 11 goals and nine assists his last 16

contests overall.

Patrick Kane, who had two assists Monday, has two goals and

three assists in five career games against the Bruins while captain

Jonathan Toews has four with an assist versus Boston during that

same span.

“They are a great team,” Boston forward Patrice Bergeron said.

“They have a lot of talent. “It’s going to be a tough one, we’ll

make sure we’re ready.”

Nathan Horton and Brad Marchand each scored on the power play

Sunday as the Bruins won for the third time in four games.

“We’re focused on where we are and not where we’re going to

be,” said Bruins forward Mark Recchi, who has two goals and two

assists his last three games versus Chicago. “We’re pretty

confident we’re not going to slip past third (in the East). We just

want to be playing our best hockey full speed ahead.”

Horton has three goals in three games, but has been held without

a point his last four against the Blackhawks.

All-Star Tim Thomas, who made 27 saves against the Flyers, has

allowed two goals on 83 shots during his personal three-game

winning streak. He is 4-1-1 lifetime versus Chicago, but posted a

5.04 goals-against average in losing his last two starts against

the Blackhawks.