Video: Marchand, Pastrnak power Bruins to strong start

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The Boston Bruins seemed to sleepwalk into a big game against the Chicago Blackhawks before a too-little, too-late rally this past weekend. That doesn’t appear to be an issue on Thursday, however.

Instead, the Bruins fired off two early goals in what is an enormous game against the Detroit Red Wings.

First, David Pastrnak burned Mike Green and scored the 1-0 goal (which survived an offside review), which you can watch in the video above.

About a minute later, Brad Marchand buried a nice Torey Krug pass to make it 2-0. Marchand now has 37 goals:

Before Red Wings fans slam Jimmy Howard, he did make a significant save on a Marchand shorthanded change later on in the first. That might be the kind of stop that looms large if Detroit can get back in this.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs opened up an early 1-0 lead against the Philadelphia Flyers, so tonight at least started off in a promising way for the Bruins.

Of course, the night is young, so plenty of things can change …

WATCH LIVE: Huge game as Boston Bruins host Detroit Red Wings

Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green (25) battle for the puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP

This game isn’t for all the marbles … but it’s for a lot of them. Or maybe for some really important ones?

Anyway, NBCSN carries quite a treat/nerve-wracking game, depending upon who’s watching.

It’s a key game for the Detroit Red Wings, who can clinch a 25th consecutive playoff berth if they beat the Boston Bruins a night after grabbing a crucial win against the Philadelphia Flyers.

This is even more important for the Bruins, as a loss to the Red Wings wouldn’t technically boot Boston from the playoffs … but it would make for some pretty scary odds for the B’s.

It all shapes up to be a captivating matchup with significant playoff implications, so tune in on NBCSN and stream it online via the link below.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

NHL on NBCSN: Red Wings look to put a dent in Bruins’ playoff chances

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Boston Bruins host the Detroit Red Wings at 7:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

The Boston Bruins are no longer in control of their own destiny. If both Detroit and Philadelphia take care of their own business, the Bruins will miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second consecutive year.

Boston is two points behind Detroit for third in the Atlantic Division, but the Wings have won two more games in regulation/overtime. The Bruins and Flyers are tied for the final Wild Card spot. Boston has one more regulation/overtime win than Philadelphia, but the Flyers have a game in hand.

Even if they don’t control their own destiny, a win against the Red Wings on Thursday night would help increase Boston’s playoff odds significantly.

“It’s an exciting time of year, and it’s do-or-die,” said Bruins forward Matt Beleskey, per CSN New England. “We’re going to take it one step at a time, and I think we are an excited group. We’ve talked about finish. We’ve had opportunities and I think guys are squeezing a little hard. You just need to play our game, and get the emotion going, get the [Garden] going and hopefully that will be what we need to get it done.”

The Bruins are in this position because they’ve completely collapsed over the last few weeks. Boston’s won just three of their last 12 contests.

As for Detroit, things couldn’t be going much better.

The Red Wings have won seven of their last 10 contests including last night’s huge 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

“I said it to the guys after that game that I think this was our best game and certainly the best game our forwards have played,” defenseman Kyle Quincey after the win over the Flyers, per MLive.com. “It made our job very, very easy.

“Everything just kind of went our way tonight. When it didn’t, Jimmy (Howard) made some big saves.”

Howard is a big reason why Detroit’s been able to get their season back on the rails. After being relegated to backup duty for most of the season, Howard’s been able to string together several solid performances in crucial games over the last few weeks. The 32-year-old’s won four of his last five outings and he’s given up two goals or less in each of those games.

The Bruins can’t be eliminated from playoff contention tonight, but if they lose to Detroit and Philadelphia takes down Toronto, their odds of making the postseason will shrink to almost nothing.

A win would allow Detroit to clinch a playoff spot.

Bruins lose in shootout, so Lightning are officially in the playoffs

Tampa Bay Lightning's Brian Boyle (11) and Ondrej Palat (18) congratulate Erik Condra, center, after his goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 22, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. Condra scored two goals to help the Lightning defeat the Red Wings 6-2. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)
AP
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The Tampa Bay Lightning might lose to the New York Rangers despite starting with a 2-0 lead, yet the scoreboard might still provide some relief … assuming they can see some out-of-town results.

(OK, so maybe only Lightning fans will get to utter a sigh of relief, at least for now.)

With the Boston Bruins’ 2-1 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on the docket, the Lightning are guaranteed a spot in the 2016 playoffs. The NHL provided the ‘ol ticket punched graphic and everything:

The Bruins aren’t hopeless yet, but they remain outside of the East’s top eight thanks to tiebreaker advantages held by the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings.

eastwildapr5
via NHL.com

As you can see, this loss hurts, although the Bruins at least managed to grind out a standings point.

Bruins’ playoff hopes take big hit after comeback falls short vs. Chicago

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“Almost” might just be a word that will haunt the Boston Bruins after Sunday.

It’s possible that people will use that word regarding a failed playoff bid, and it’s definitely something that can be trotted out regarding their 6-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks this afternoon.

For quite some time, it looked like the Blackhawks would absolutely humiliate the Bruins. Tuukka Rask was chased from the Bruins’ net, Patrick Kane hit the 100-point plateau with a huge output and Chicago roared to a 6-0 lead.

Fittingly, some quick goals changed the feel of this one.

The Bruins managed a pair of goals in little time to give themselves more confidence heading into the third period, and things really got interesting there, with the B’s closing the gap to a 6-4 lead for Chicago.

Ultimately, Boston didn’t reach the finish line, even with an “almost” or two in the late stages.

Now, keep in mind that the Bruins aren’t mathematically eliminated by any stretch.

Still, it’s a defeat that may haunt the Bruins. The Detroit Red Wings are one point ahead for the third spot in the Atlantic Division, with both teams holding three games remaining. The Philadelphia Flyers are also one point ahead of the Bruins with 91 standings points … and Philly holds two games in hand.

So, yeah, this hurts. Even so, the Bruins can keep hope alive by noting a huge April 7 game against the Red Wings, and the fight they showed even if it ended up being too little, too late.

It’s “almost” as if this was a death blow, but luckily for the Bruins and their fans, that’s one almost that’s on their side.

Note: the Blackhawks get the win … but Marian Hossa may be injured. More on that later on Sunday or when an update comes.