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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, March 27th (All times Eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (42-16-15) at Boston Bruins (49-17-6), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - After having their longest winning streak in 43 years snapped, the Boston Bruins will try to rebound on Thursday when they host the Chicago Blackhawks in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Boston was on its first 12-game winning streak since the 1970-71 season before losing a shootout decision Monday against the visiting Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins were two wins away from matching the longest run in team history set between Dec. 3, 1929 and Jan. 9, 1930.
The Bruins hope to return to the win column on Thursday against the team that beat them in six games for the Stanley Cup last season. It was the second championship for Chicago in four years after beating Philadelphia in the 2010 Cup Finals.
Chicago actually clinched its 2013 title at Boston's TD Garden on June 24, as Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland scored goals 17 second apart in the final 1:16 of play to deliver a 3-2 win for the Blackhawks in Game 6. Bolland was dealt to Toronto over the summer, while Bickell has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury and could miss tonight's battle.
Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy for last season's playoffs, is also out for the rest of the regular season with an injured left leg.
The clubs met on Jan. 19 in Chicago and the Blackhawks recorded a 3-2 shootout win to post their third win in the last five regular-season encounters. Boston has won three of the past four matchups at TD Garden, not including last year's playoff meeting.
Boston, which already has clinched a playoff spot and is closing in on an Atlantic Division title, lost for the first time since March 1 on Monday. Alex Galchenyuk scored the only goal in a four-round shootout to lift the Canadiens to the 2-1 win.
The Bruins tied the game with 5:26 left in regulation on a goal from Patrice Bergeron. However, Bergeron, Jarome Iginla, Brad Marchand and David Krejci all failed to score in the shootout portion.
Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask made 21 saves -- stopping all 17 shots he faced between the second period and overtime.
"We played hard," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "You can't win 12 in a row, lose one in a shootout and say 'I'm really disappointed in my team.'"
The Bruins fell to 28-7-3 as the host this season after Monday's shootout loss. After closing a brief two-game homestand tonight, Boston will head out on a four-game road trip that is set to begin Sunday in Philadelphia.
Chicago has won three of its last four games and is 4-1-1 over its past six trips to the ice. The Blackhawks last played on Tuesday when they notched a 4-2 home win against the Dallas Stars.
Duncan Keith netted the deciding goal late in the second period and Marian Hossa added an empty-net insurance marker as Chicago topped the Stars at United Center.
Andrew Shaw and Kris Versteeg also lit the lamp for the Blackhawks, while Corey Crawford stopped 25-of-27 shots for the victorious hosts.
"It was a big win tonight," Keith said. "I thought we came out, had a pretty good start and we were able to get one on the power play which was nice to get us jump-started."
With 99 points, the Blackhawks are second in the Central Division and close to officially wrapping up a playoff spot. Chicago is six points behind first- place St. Louis in the division and three points ahead of Colorado. Both teams also are in action tonight, with St. Louis hosting Minnesota and the Avalanche playing at home against Vancouver.
Thursday's tilt marks the start of a three-game road trip for the Blackhawks. Chicago is 18-9-8 on the road this season and has lost two straight and four of its last five away from the Windy City.
Six of Chicago's last nine games in the regular season will be played on the road.
03/27 10:48:44 ET
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