Despite losing two of their top five scorers and their top two centers, the Boston Bruins are clinging onto the final playoff spot in the jam-packed Eastern Conference.
Centers Marc Savard and Patrice Bergeron, winger Chuck Kobasew and defensemen Andrew Alberts and Andrew Ference are all currently unavailable due to injuries, and with the Bruins only two points ahead of the surging Washington Capitals, they can't afford to make excuses. Young players David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Vladmir Sobotka, Mark Stuart and Matt Lashoff have all stepped up to provide some much needed relief, while Marco Sturm, Zdeno Chara and Dennis Wideman have become steady producers for the Bruins.
The production of goalies Tim Thomas and Alex Auld has also kept the Bruins in the playoff race. When Thomas has needed a rest, Auld has been there to play at a high level and give the Bruins a chance to win. The Bruins will need the strong play of both goaltenders to continue if they are to go deep into the playoffs.
With a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins eliminated a divisional rival on Thursday. With two games left against Buffalo, Boston is already in playoff mode and can't afford to lose any more games, or any more players.
The Bruins host the Ottawa Senators Saturday at 1:00 p.m.