By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON The tests just keep on coming for the Bruins in the final weeks of the regular season as they face a Chicago Blackhawks team desperate to cement a playoff spot just a year after winning the Stanley Cup.Tonights game against Chicago ends a stretch of seven games where the Bs had played five playoff-ready opponents as well as games against teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils that were hungry to force their way into the postseason conversation.Bruins coach Claude Julien is attempting to get his team into the playoff mindset over the final three weeks of the regular season, and a pretty meaningful 2-1 win over the Flyers last weekend was a good start.That continues against the Blackhawks with the very-same lineup that Boston featured against Philly in an impressive effort.I think for us right now its focusing on the moment, said Julien. From here on in we have to maintain our play, our level of play that weve had lately and continue to try and even improve that.Theres no room for complacency right now, and we have lots of players. If were going to move some players in and out from here on in its because were taking it easy. Its because we want everybody ready to go. Thats kind of the message we gave to the players.For the Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews has 12 goals and 12 assists in his last 18 games for Chicago and goaltender Corey Crawford has played in 20 straight games for the Blackhawks and may play tonight after the Hawks beat the Red Wings in overtime last night in Detroit. Tuukka Rask, Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin, Michael Ryder, Steve Kampfer, Adam McQuaid, Shane Hnidy and Tuukka Rask were among the Bruins players that skated during an optional on-ice workout at TD Garden.Julien indicated hes going to get some of the extra players into games soon, but that probably wouldnt be happening against the Blackhawks on Tuesday night. Expect to see Hnidy in at least a couple of games prior to the playoffs in case injuries or slumps make his presence mandatory in the lineup. That also means Steve Kampfer and Michael Ryder are once again Boston's likely healthy scratches for tonight.Not tonight, but I think as we move on here theres certainly going to be guys moving in and out of the lineup here, said Julien, when asked about lineup changes. Were certainly preparing for that. With Rask on the ice for the optional skate, its likely that Tim Thomas will again get the start for the Bs against Chicago. Thomas is 3-0-0 with a 0.67 goals against average in his last three starts against the Devils, Canadiens and Flyers, and has been every bit as good as he was in the first three months of the season.
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