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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, April 7th (All times eastern)

Boston Bruins (51-17-10) at Ottawa Senators (35-34-10), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - With the top seed in the Eastern Conference secured, the Boston Bruins have only the Presidents' Trophy to play for. They will try to boost their chances in the race for the NHL's best record when they visit the Ottawa Senators tonight for a Northeast Division battle at Scotiabank Place.

The Bruins clinched the East's No. 1 seed with Saturday's 1-0 decision over the visiting New York Rangers, marking the first time since 2002 that the club has won the top spot in the conference.

With 112 points, Boston is three behind the San Jose Sharks for the Presidents' Trophy. The Sharks, who are hosting Colorado later tonight, have three games left in the regular season, while the Bruins have four remaining.

One day after inking a four-year deal worth a reported $20 million, Tim Thomas made 31 saves for his fifth shutout of the season in the win over the Rangers at TD Banknorth Garden.

Thomas, who will turn 35 on April 15, is the league-leader in both goals against average (2.07) and save percentage (.933), making him a prime candidate for the Vezina Trophy. In addition, Thomas has recorded a career- high 34 wins, the most victories by a Boston goaltender since Byron Dafoe had 35 in 2001-02.

Manny Fernandez, however, will get the start in goal for the Bruins tonight.

Blake Wheeler was the lone player to turn on the red light Saturday, as he fired a slap shot from the right point that went between the pads of New York's Henrik Lundqvist at the 9:04 mark of the first period.

Boston, which is 23-11-4 as the guest this year, has three road games left in the regular season. The Bruins will play their final home test of the 2008-09 slate their next time out when they host Montreal on Thursday.

The Senators, who will miss the playoffs for the first time 1996, posted a win over the rival Montreal Canadiens on Monday. It was the second straight victory for Ottawa, but just the club's third win in its last seven contests.

Dany Heatley scored twice in a span of 38 seconds in the third period to help the Ottawa Senators edge the Montreal Canadiens, 3-2, at the Bell Centre.

Chris Campoli scored the other goal while Alex Auld made 20 saves for the Senators, who have won their last two games over playoff-hopeful teams after beating Philadelphia on Saturday.

The Sens, who are 21-12-6 in Canada's capital city, are wrapping up their 2008-09 home slate with a two-game stint at Scotiabank Place, which will end Thursday against New Jersey. Ottawa will then close the season Saturday in Toronto.

Boston has won all five meetings with the Sens this season and can complete the series sweep tonight. The Bruins have taken seven straight and nine of 10 from Ottawa and have also won three in a row and four of five at Scotiabank Place.

04/07 11:06:30 ET


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