With one game left in the regular season, the Boston Bruins have some unfinished business.
The Bruins are headed to the playoffs for the second straight season, but could finish seventh or eighth. A win, tie or an overtime loss Saturday against Buffalo, gives Boston the seventh seed and a first-round matchup against New Jersey or Philadelphia.
The most presssing concern for the Bruins heading into the playoffs is their goaltending.
Steve Shields has seen most of the playing time while Jeff Hackett recovers from a broken right index finger, but coach Mike O’Connell has yet to name a starter for the postseason. Hackett, sidelined since March 15, could get the start Saturday.
Shields had another strong game Thursday in a 1-1 tie against the Devils with 28 saves. He has allowed just eight goals in his last four games, but is 0-1-3 in that span.
“I feel like I’ve given the team a chance to win almost every night that I’ve played,” Shields said. “It’s not up me when the decision comes as to who plays next week but I’ll be ready to go.”
Captain Joe Thornton scored for the Bruins, 0-2-3 in their last five.
“He’s been playing well for us and going into the playoffs you need a hot goaltender,” Thornton said of Shields. “He’s starting to get hot now.”
Thornton, who has five points in three games against the Sabres this season, is one point shy of reaching 100 for the first time in his career.
Buffalo will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive year, but has played well toward the end of the season.
The Sabres had their biggest third-period comeback in more than 11 years Wednesday, scoring four goals in a 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers. Daniel Briere and Tim Connolly each had a goal and an assist for Buffalo, winner of five of six.
“Sometimes you get that tying goal, and you think we’ve done our job,” Briere said. “The next line came out and kept it going. Guys paid the price for a big goal.”
STANDINGS: Sabres - 71 points, 5th place, 40 PB, Northeast Division. Bruins - 85 points, 3rd place, 26 PB, Northeast Division.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through April 3): Sabres - Power play: 14.6 percent (51 for 350), 19th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.6 percent (303 for 354), 5th. Bruins - Power play: 17.8 percent (57 for 321), 10th. Penalty killing: 82.6 percent (309 for 374), 20th.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 10; Sabres, 4-2. At Buffalo, N.Y., Rookie Ales Kotalik scored twice during Buffalo’s four-goal third period as the Sabres rallied for the win.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sabres - 9-20-5-6 on the road; Bruins - 22-11-5-2 at home.