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Bruins need to bag Leafs before heading West

Overworked Thomas will get short break before team embarks on West Coast swing.

Ten games to go. The finish line is finally within reach for the Bruins, who now are fighting for their division lives after their two-month malaise. Three things to look for in a big Bruins week:

Build on big win

The Bruins came up with a rousing performance Saturday against the Flyers in what felt like a playoff game. The Bruins finally scored first, and raised their record to 32-0-0 when taking a 2-0 lead -- even if they did need a dramatic shootout to secure the victory and regain a mathematical hold on first place in the Northeast Division. With the lowly Maple Leafs at the Garden tonight (7 p.m., NESN), the Bruins have a golden opportunity to build some momentum going into the final three weeks of the regular season.

Go West, old man

Tim Thomas gets his last two-day break of the regular season Tuesday and Wednesday, but it will hardly be restful, as the team will spend one of the days trudging to the West Coast for their final serious road trip of the season. Thomas looked much better Saturday.

Back, back to Cali

With the NCAA tournament East regional being held in Boston this upcoming weekend, the Bruins have the joy of a three-game, four-day California trip, with San Jose on Thursday, Los Angeles on Saturday and Anaheim on Sunday. Oh, and the Sharks and Kings are playing for their playoff lives, so none of these games promise to be easy.

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