Hello again from TD Garden, where tonight the Bruins suit up for the 80th time this season, taking on the sad sack NY Islanders, who have missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season.
Tim Thomas was the first Boston 'tender to leave the ice after this morning's optional workout, making the ''Tank'' the prime candidate to be in net against Charles Wang's ''Fishsticks''.
''I think Timmy has been our No. 1 for the year,'' noted coach Claude Julien, asked if Thomas would be the chosen starter in the playoffs. ''Again, I've had some conversations with him, as far as what we want to do here in the next three games --we've taken the approach of going one game at a time.''
Two games left on the Boston menu prior to the start of the playoffs (Game 1 of the postseason likely to be staged on Causeway Street next Thursday eve). The Bruins face the Senators in Game 81 here at the Garden on Saturday at 1 p.m., and then wrap it up with a Sunday matinee in Newark vs. the Devils. An emotional flatline of a finish for the Bruins, facing three DNQs as the run-up to the postseason.
If the playoffs were to start tonight, the Bruins, slotted at No. 3 in the East, would oppose Montreal. But nothing is set. It could still be a first-round set with either the Rangers or Sabres.
Puck drop: 7 p.m.
Record: Islanders, 30-37-12; Bruins, 44-24-11.
TV/radio info: NESN (Jack Edwards, Andy Brickley, Naoko Funayama), 98.5 The Sports Hub (Dave Goucher, Bob Beers)
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Rich Peverley-Chris Kelly-Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Healthy scratches: Shane Hnidy, Steven Kampfer, Tyler Seguin
Storylines: No telling for certain if Seguin or Ryder gets the call at right wing on that Peverley-Kelly combination....Julien on Kaberle's 21 games under the employ of the Spoked-B: ''He's coming around, I think. We're still doing a lot of video with him, for him to really feel comfortable, understand what we're doing. I mean, he's been with an organization that played a different type of game, especially in the D zone, a lot of man-on-man, stuff like that, where we play more zone. That's a big adjustment in itself.''....Thornton had the 40 or so stitches removed from his forehead on Tuesday and is expected to be in the lineup, according to Julien. ''I haven't heard,'' said Thornton, chatting with reporters before Julien's late-morning media briefing. ''So if you hear anything, give me a heads up, will ya?''....In three of their last five games, the Bruins have taken to the power play a total of two times, while faced to kill off nine man-advantages in those three games. ''Maybe in these next three games here,'' noted Julien, ''we get a chance to see a little bit more of our power play.''...Tonight's whistleblowers: Referees Stephen Walkom and Francois St. Laurent; Linesmen Andy McElman and Brian Murphy. Kyle Messier will be the video judge. Given this dead spot in the season, will he be inclined to burn the video at night's end?