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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 22nd (All times Eastern)

Boston Bruins (48-17-5) at Phoenix Coyotes (34-25-11), 9 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Coyotes will try to record a fourth straight win on Saturday to help boost their playoff odds.

The Boston Bruins already have clinched a postseason berth, but will take aim at a 12th consecutive victory when they visit the Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena.

Phoenix enters Saturday with 79 points, giving the club a four-point edge over Dallas for the second of the Western Conference's two wild card spots. The Stars, who host Ottawa on Saturday, do hold a game in hand over the Coyotes in the race for the West's final postseason berth.

Vancouver is five points behind the Coyotes and Winnipeg is one point further back in the heated battle for the second wild card spot. The Canucks are off on Saturday, while the Jets host Carolina.

The Coyotes picked up a third straight win in Thursday's 2-1 home decision against the Florida Panthers. Mike Smith made 22 saves to help Phoenix pick up the valuable points.

Smith has fueled Phoenix's push to the playoffs, going 9-5-1 with a .937 save percentage and 1.86 goals against average over his last 15 games. He is 3-7-0 with a 2.48 GAA and .914 save percentage in 10 lifetime appearances against Boston.

Radim Vrbata and Antoine Vermette scored in the first period for the Coyotes, who trail Minnesota by four points for the first wild card spot in the West.

The Bruins, meanwhile, became the first team to clinch a playoff spot this season when they picked up an 11th straight win by blanking the Colorado Avalanche, 2-0, on Friday night.

Backup goaltender Chad Johnson gave Tuukka Rask a rest and earned his third career shutout with a 31-save performance.

"I definitely had some bad rebounds and those guys did a great job cleaning it up for me," Johnson said.

Patrice Bergeron and Carl Soderberg scored for the Bruins, who last won 11 straight during a 13-game run from Feb. 23-March 20, 1971.

Boston also tied St. Louis for the most points in the league with 101. The Blues hold a game in hand over the Bruins and play Saturday in Philadelphia.

The B's lead the Eastern Conference by six points over Pittsburgh, which hosts Tampa Bay on Saturday. The Lightning trail Boston by 16 points for the Atlantic Division lead.

The Bruins recorded a 2-1 home win over the Coyotes on March 13, as Zdeno Chara and Jarome Iginla notched first-period goals and Rask stopped 21-of-22 shots for the win.

Boston has won three straight meetings in this series overall and has claimed two of the last three encounters in the desert.

The Coyotes are 21-11-3 as the host this season and have won four in a row at Jobing.com Arena.

Rask expects to start Saturday for Boston. The Finnish netminder is 2-1-0 with a 1.99 GAA and .925 save percentage in three career games against Phoenix.

03/22 10:54:24 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
3rd
CHA 75
ORL 56
 
9:30pm Tonight
DUKE
TEMPL
3rd
CHA 75
ORL 56
 
3rd
PHI 63
PHO 90
 
Half
ATL 50
DET 40
 
2nd
TOR 66
MIL 45
 
2nd
MEM 35
BOS 29
 
2nd
OKC 29
BRK 27
 
2nd
WAS 32
CLE 23
 
2nd
MIN 32
SAN 35
 
1st
DAL 0
LAL 0
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
NOP
10:30pm Tonight
POR
CHI
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
UTA
1:00pm Today
BUF 0
KSU 0
1st
RICE 0
UTEP 0
 
9:30pm Tonight
SDST
AFA
9:30pm Tonight
UTST
SJST
Final
COC 50
TEXAM 59
Final
DREX 70
USC 72
Final
GWEBB 72
CLEM 70
Final
MIAMI 79
AKR 51
Final
UCONN 75
DAY 64
Final
NEV 60
SHU 68
Final
LONG 81
UNCG 79
Final
ARKPB 46
VALPO 59
 
Final
WVU 70
BC 66
 
Final
TOWS 58
CCST 49
 
Final
YALE 70
ILLCH 58
 
Final
IOWA 63
SYR 66
 
Final
HAMP 82
ALCOR 69
 
2nd
ODU 66
LSU 61
 
2nd
KENT 61
BU 50
 
2nd
SCAR 55
CHAR 55
 
2nd
UVA 53
GWU 39
 
Final
WCU 72
HIWASSEE 53
 
2nd
GT 53
MAST 52
 
2nd
RIDE 63
LEH 57
 
2nd
MSU 74
LOYC 41
 
2nd
CMICH 67
MAINE 44
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF 0
MNTST 0
 
2nd
BAY 51
PVU 34
 
2nd
HOF 60
USB 61
 
2nd
OREG 64
TOL 56
 
2nd
UGA 71
TROY 53
 
2nd
STAN 69
UNLV 42
 
2nd
FAIR 33
WOFF 49
 
2nd
EMICH 48
YOUNG 47
 
2nd
MON 44
COOK 27
 
2nd
FIU 44
FLMEM 30
 
2nd
KSU 45
SILL 32
 
2nd
CAL 21
TEX 31
 
Half
GMAS 20
NMU 30
 
1st
ILL 41
PEAY 23
 
1st
ARK 34
DELST 26
 
Half
MCNST 40
JCHR 34
 
1st
NDST 24
KNST 17
 
1st
OKST 37
UWMIL 19
 
1st
LATU 23
MORE 19
 
1st
SDKST 25
NDAK 36
 
1st
XAV 31
STEPH 26
 
1st
UF 17
LAMON 29
 
1st
WAKE 3
IONA 0
 
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
FAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
COLST
UGST
9:00pm Tonight
WASU
IDST
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
ILLST
9:00pm Tonight
AUB
LALAF
9:00pm Tonight
LOU
MARS
9:00pm Tonight
ORST
ORU
9:00pm Tonight
CORN
PSU
9:00pm Tonight
SD
SHSU
9:00pm Tonight
UTAH
UCR
9:30pm Tonight
DUKE
TEMPL
10:00pm Tonight
CPSL
DEL
10:00pm Tonight
AMER
PBY
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
WASH
 
10:30pm Tonight
LBSU
KYST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
PITT
2nd Intermission
CLB 2
BOS 0
 
2nd Intermission
PIT 3
NYI 4
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF 0
NYR 0
 
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
NJD