Both the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens faced an alluring proposition on Tuesday: they had the chance to improve their odds of winning the Northeast Division title by beating up on non-playoff teams. Each squad failed.
The Bruins lost to the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 while the Canadiens fell short of a comeback against the New Jersey Devils, ultimately falling 3-2.
Despite the score differences, one can quibble over which loss was worse. The Flyers have been playing better lately, as this marks their fourth win in five games. On the other hand, the Devils are closer to full strength with Ilya Kovalchuk back in the lineup.
Either way, those defeats represent missed opportunities. Check out the two teams’ remaining schedules:
Thursday: home vs. Tampa Bay
Saturday: at Washington
Sunday: home vs. Ottawa
Thursday: at Winnipeg
Saturday: at Toronto
The Bruins have that extra game in hand while the Habs have one extra regulation/overtime win (24 to Boston’s 23).
Depending upon how things shake out, Montreal’s season-ending Saturday game against the Maple Leafs might just be a playoff preview.