Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton is out indefinitely with a suspected shoulder injury.
That’s the latest bit of bad news from Boston, where the desperate Bruins, now outside the playoff picture with just nine games remaining, are preparing to face Anaheim on Thursday.
Hamilton missed Sunday’s loss in Tampa Bay; he played just 13:11 Saturday against the Panthers in Sunrise. The 21-year-old has been a fixture on the Bruins’ blue line this season, with 10 goals and 32 assists in 72 games while averaging 21:20 in ice time.
Hamilton joins defenseman Kevan Miller (out for the season) on the injured list, leaving the B’s with a defense that may look something like this against the Ducks:
Zdeno Chara — Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug — Dennis Seidenberg
Matt Bartkowski — Zach Trotman
With the win, Boston has now won five straight and seven of its last nine and moves past the Washington Capitals for the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have a game in hand on the Caps.
Boston’s win coupled with Detroit’s loss in Philly leaves the Bruins just three points back of the Wings in the Atlantic Division. Detroit has one game in hand.
Pittsburgh played much of the game without both Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.
Crosby was a late scratch from the lineup due to illness and replaced by Craig Adams following the pre-game skate.
Malkin took a hit from Chris Kelly on his first shift of the game and was shaken up. He left the game briefly, but returned to finish the first period. He did not return to start the second.
Johnston says "We think they might be able to play" Sunday.
With Saturday’s victory, Boston wins the season series taking two of three from Pittsburgh. The Penguins won the first meeting 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 24. The Bruins edged the Pens with a 3-2 overtime win on Jan. 7.
It wasn’t long ago that it looked like the Boston Bruins might miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007, but their playoff chances are very good after winning six of their last seven games, including tonight’s 3-2 shootout victory over Tampa Bay.
The Bruins and Lightning traded pretty goals in the first period with Boston’s Ryan Spooner executing a great pass across the crease to David Pastrnak, whose skate hit the puck to beat goaltender Ben Bishop.
Steven Stamkos later stole the puck from Zdeno Chara and flung it past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask to net his 37th goal of the campaign.
The Lightning superstar also had a pretty big low moment. With the contest in overtime, Stamkos angrily threw his broken stick, which ended up into the stands. He received a 10-minute misconduct for his actions.
Player Safety will look at Stamkos broken stick toss, but discipline unlikely. Similar to Toews last year. Careless, but not intentional.
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each found the back of the net in the shootout as Rask outdueled Lightning forwards Nikita Kucherov and Jonathan Drouin.
With those two points, the Boston Bruins have maintained their six-point edge over the Florida Panthers (which also won tonight) in the fight for the second Wild Card spot. With just 15 contests remaining on each team’s schedule, that’s a big edge for Boston to possess.
Tampa Bay’s four-game winning streak is over, but with a point gained it has moved into a tie with the Canadiens for first place in the Atlantic Division, although Montreal still has an edge as it has played in one less game.