for this game

Bruins host Atlanta with shot at clinching Northeast title

Apr 2, 2011 - 3:45 PM (Sports Network) - The Boston Bruins will take another shot at clinching the Northeast Division title when they host the Atlanta Thrashers for today's battle at TD Garden.

The playoff-bound Bruins needed a victory in Thursday's home test against Toronto to clinch the division crown, but the Maple Leafs posted a 4-3 overtime win to foil those plans.

Boston enters today with an eight-point lead over Montreal for first place in the division with just four games remaining in the regular season for the Canadiens. The Bruins will claim their second Northeast crown in three seasons with either a point in today's game or a loss of any kind by Montreal this evening in New Jersey.

The Bruins are also four points in back of Washington for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Thrashers, meanwhile, are on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention in the East. Atlanta is nine points out of a postseason berth with just five games left on its schedule.

Atlanta has taken two of the three meetings with the Bruins this year, but Boston has still won 11 of the last 13 encounters between the clubs. The Thrashers were able to snap a seven-game road losing streak in this series with a 3-2 shootout win at the Garden on Dec. 30.

Boston earned a point in Thursday's setback to the Maple Leafs, as Nazem Kadri scored in the second round of the shootout to lift Toronto to the 4-3 win.

Brad Marchand tallied a goal and an assist for the Bruins, while Andrew Ference and David Krejci also lit the lamp. Tim Thomas made 28 saves for Boston.

"We certainly weren't as good a team as we can be and didn't bring our 'A' game," Boston head coach Claude Julien said.

Today's tilt marks the finale of a three-game homestand for the Bruins, who are 19-13-6 as the host this year.

Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara is expected to play today despite missing practice Friday with an undisclosed injury.

The Thrashers are coming off Thursday's close victory in Philadelphia, as Chris Mason stopped all 43 shots he faced to back-stop Atlanta to the 1-0 win.

"I just felt really comfortable and I felt I was tracking the puck real well," Mason said. "The guys did a good job letting me see shots; I felt I had a good beat on the puck tonight."

Nik Antropov registered the lone goal for the Thrashers, who were in line to be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss but responded with their third win in five games.

Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start today in net for Atlanta. He is 2-1-0 with a 2.28 goals-against average in three starts versus Boston this season. Thomas could get the call for the Bruins and is 1-0-1 with a 1.44 GAA in two outings versus the Thrashers in 2010-11.