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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, March 15th (All times eastern)

Boston Bruins (38-21-9) at Columbus Blue Jackets (32-27-9), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Boston Bruins will try to get back in the win column when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets for tonight's interconference battle at Nationwide Arena.

The Bruins have lost four games in a row (0-2-2) for the first time this season and the skid has allowed Montreal to pull within two points of Boston for the Northeast Division lead.

A regulation loss by Boston tonight would give the Canadiens a chance to pull even with the Bruins, as Montreal is hosting Washington this evening. The Capitals, meanwhile, are five points ahead of Boston for the Eastern Conference's second seed.

Boston has not fared well in its recent meetings with the Blue Jackets, losing two in a row and three of the last four encounters. The Bruins have also dropped two straight and three of their last five tests in Columbus.

The Bruins are in the midst of their worst losing streak since the club went 0-6-4 over a 10-game stretch from Jan. 16-Feb. 6 of last season.

Boston's most recent setback came in regulation Friday night against the New York Islanders. Jack Hillen scored the game-deciding goal early in the third period to help lift the Islanders to the 4-2 decision at Nassau Coliseum.

"I don't think our team has played as well since we came back from our trip out west," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "We're not doing the things we did on that trip that gave us success."

Nathan Horton and Zdeno Chara provided the offense for the Bruins, who had won a season-best seven straight games prior to this skid. Six of the wins during that hot stretch came during a road trip, but Boston has lost its last two away from Beantown. The Bruins still have an excellent 22-9-4 record as the guest this season.

Tim Thomas allowed three goals on 41 shots for his third loss in as many starts. Thomas is still 29-9-8 on the season, but Tuukka Rask could get the call tonight.

Boston hopes to have star defenseman Zdeno Chara on the ice tonight after he missed Monday's practice due to an illness. The Bruins' captain is questionable for this evening's test.

The Blue Jackets ended a seven-game skid in their last trip to the ice, but that recent losing streak may have cost Columbus a trip to this year's playoffs. Scott Arniel's club is sitting 12th in the West with 73 points -- eight behind Calgary for the conference's final postseason berth.

Columbus earned its first win since Feb. 25 by recording a 3-2 regulation win over Carolina on Saturday. Derek MacKenzie scored twice and Steve Mason made 29 saves to lift the Blue Jackets to the road win at RBC Center.

Samuel Pahlsson also lit the lamp for the Blue Jackets, who held a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes before holding on for the win.

"We get off to a real good start, getting a lead, and they were coming. We knew they were going to come," said Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel. "We weathered the storm, and [Mason] was outstanding."

Mason is 2-0 with a shutout and a .971 save percentage in two career games against the Bruins.

The Blue Jackets have lost their last two home games and are 16-12-5 as the host this season.

03/15 10:56:07 ET


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