Bruins and Thrashers set to battle for 8th spot in the East

The Bruins are in Atlanta to take on the Thrashers with possession of 8th place in the Eastern Conference on the line. The Bruins enter tonight's game in 8th place in the Eastern Conference with 76 points (32-27-12), one point up on the 9th place Thrashers (32-29-11, 75 points). The Bruins are coming off of an important 2-1 win over the New York Rangers on Sunday, while the surging Thrashers will look for their 5th straight win after sweeping a home-and-home weekend series with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Just a few weeks ago, it looked like the Thrashers were packing it in after shipping star forward Ilya Kovalchuk (and his expiring contract) to the Devils. Since the trade on February 4th, the Thrashers have gone 8-6-3 and find themselves in the hunt for the playoffs. The Thrashers have been getting production from several different players in wake of Kovalchuk's departure from the ATL. The Thrashers currently have four players with 20 or more goals (Nik Antropov: 22 goals, Maxim Afinogenov: 22 goals, Rich Peverley: 20 goals, & Nicklas Bergfors: 20 goals).

Injury Report


Boston Bruins Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Marc Savard concussion 03/08/2010


Atlanta Thrashers Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Chris Thorburn other-excused 03/22/2010

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Boris Valabik knee 02/06/2010

Notes:

- Based on Claude Julien's quotes after Sunday's game, I would expect to see Tuukka Rask back in net again tonight:

"Right now, it’s not a question of Tim [Thomas] not being good or whatever. It’s a question of you got to go with the goaltender that’s been the hottest as of late. And I think, it’s been unanimous that right now, Tuukka is really playing well for us. You give him that opportunity. That shouldn’t take anything away from Tim, except the fact that if Tim is not playing right now, we’ve got a pretty good goaltender to throw in if anything happens at any time."

- Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien after Sunday's 2-1 win over the New York Rangers

- Patrice Bergeron visited with Norwood High School hockey player Matt Brown in Atanta last night. Brown broke his neck during a game earlier this year and is rehabbing from his injury at Atlanta's world renowned Sheppard Center. The spinal and brain injury rehabilitation hospital also cared for BU hockey player Travis Roy after his spinal cord injury.

- Apparently tonight's game is like the playoffs to the fans in Atlanta, while the team is still begging people to embrace hockey. The team's official website has even dubbed this the "Biggest Game of the Year"

- Atlanta has the 3rd highest GAA in the league (3.11), which only Toronto and Edmonton giving up more goals.

- Atlanta does have the 6th best scoring punch in the league, though (2.97 goals/game).

- The Bruins and Thrashers last met two days before the Winter Classic. The Bruins shutout the thrashers 4-0 in that contest.

- The puck drops at 7:00 and can be seen on NESN. The Public Skate open thread starts at 6:30.

- For more on tonight's game, check out Bird Watcher's Anonymous.

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