The last time the Boston Bruins played a game, they dropped an opportunity to improve their Northeast Division lead by losing handily to the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. David Krejci told CSNNE.com that he hopes that embarrassment will work like an alarm clock for a sleepy-looking team.
“I think we have had our wake-up calls in the last couple of games. Maybe the Philly game was a slap in the face,” Krejci said. “We know we haven’t been playing the way we want to. At this time of year you don’t want to think about negative stuff, though. We have three games left, so that’s what we should focus on.”
If any Bruins player needs a little splash of water to the face, it’s the 26-year-old center. Krejci scored a goal on Tuesday, but that broke a five-game pointless streak. Overall, he’s scored just one goal and one assist in his last 10 games.
Some might want to dismiss Krejci’s importance to the Bruins, but here’s an easy fact that underscores his ability: his 23 points topped all scorers in the 2011 playoffs.
The Czech forward and the rest of the B’s host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
There’s a good news, bad news scenario at play regarding Nathan Horton.
The good news is the Boston forward skated on Thursday morning.
The bad news is he won’t play Thursday night.
Horton will miss his third straight game with an upper-body injury against the Lightning, still feeling the effects of whatever he hurt during a fight with Pittsburgh’s Jarome Iginla on Saturday.
B’s head coach Claude Julien said Horton is “on the right track” and “progressing well,” though it remains to be seen if the 27-year-old will get back into the lineup before the playoffs.
The Bruins have two games remaining after tonight’s tilt against the Bolts — Saturday in Washington and Sunday at home against the Senators.
You’d think Boston would want to get Horton back in the lineup as soon as possible.
While he’s had a somewhat inconsistent year, he remains one of the club’s best net-front presences and is third in goals, with 13 — an important figure, as all 13 have come at even strength.
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.
On what will be a busy night in the National Hockey League — 10 games all told — NBC Sports Network will be front and center with a pair of games in an East-West doubleheader.
Up first is Boston at Philly (7:00 p.m. ET), a game that has little meaning for the Flyers but plenty for the Bruins.
Boston is looking to secure points and stay ahead of Montreal for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference — currently, the B’s are tied on points with the Habs (59) but are ahead in the standings thanks to games played (44 to Montreal’s 45).
Neither team has played exceptionally well as of late. The Flyers are 5-5-0 in their last 10 and were recently bounced from playoff contention while the Bruins are 5-4-1 over their last 10, and have failed to surpass a slumping Montreal team in the points chase.
Once these two teams are done, focus turns out West for a huge game in terms of playoff jockeying.
The Dallas Stars are in San Jose to take on the Sharks (10:00 p.m. ET, and in a very unique position. Despite sitting 10th in the West, the Stars are technically in control of their own playoff fate as they have games remaining against the teams they’re chasing — Detroit, and Columbus.
That said, those upcoming games might mean little if the Stars can’t get a result tonight in the Shark Tank.
Not that it’ll be easy.
The Sharks are one of the best home teams in the league this year, posting a 16-2-5 record at HP Pavilion. San Jose also has plenty to play for tonight as they didn’t get any help on the playoff clinching front last night — if Phoenix had defeated Detroit (the ‘Yotes lost 4-0), San Jose would’ve automatically qualified for the postseason.
Now, they’ll have to do it themselves.
With Nathan Horton hurt, the Boston Bruins need recently scratched power forward Milan Lucic to get things right.
The question is, did they burn the bridge to some extent by sitting the struggling winger in the first place? Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick debate the merits for and against that move in the video below:
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