The Boston Bruins’ regular season is over. But they must wait just a little bit longer for an opponent in the opening round of the playoffs to be determined.
They could face the Ottawa Senators, starting that potential series on the road.
Or, depending on what happens with the Toronto Maple Leafs later tonight and tomorrow, the Bruins could fall into the final wild card spot and be forced to face Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby and the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals in Round One.
With Brad Marchand out the lineup, as he finished his suspension for spearing, the Bruins lost 3-1 to the Capitals on Saturday. They were also outshot 32-22. Kevin Shattenkirk and Justin Williams scored just 3:01 apart in the second period to give Washington the lead — and eventually the win.
The Bruins are currently third in the Atlantic Division with 95 points.
Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs host the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight and Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. If Toronto can get three of four points this weekend, they would finish the season with 96 points and would play the Senators in the opening round, leaving Boston to deal with the Capitals.
Meanwhile, there is now concern for Boston’s 20-year-old rookie defenseman Brandon Carlo, who left Saturday’s contest and didn’t return after he was hurt on a hit into the boards from Ovechkin.
“We’re not going to be able to replace what he does,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “He’s a special talent — power play, first pass, breakout, neutral-zone transition, all of those things — so the onus will be on us to make sure we make the necessary reads in our breakout.”