Bruins take Northeast Division lead, hand Devils eighth loss in a row

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The Boston Bruins have been steamrolling slumping teams to improve their standing in the Northeast Division – and probably boost their scoring confidence – lately.

They handed the lowly Carolina Hurricanes their sixth loss in a row on Monday and then beat the New Jersey Devils by a 5-4 score that was deceptively close on Wednesday.

The game could prove costly for both sides injury-wise. Brad Marchand left the game and didn’t return after an elbow by Anton Volchenkov, who might face a suspension for that hit. Bryce Salvador hurt himself blocking a Zdeno Chara shot while Martin Brodeur was a little banged up after a collision with Chris Kelly. (He played the rest of the game, though.)

Of course, an eighth consecutive loss probably hurts the Devils the most.

With this win, the Bruins take a slim lead in the Northeast:

Boston: 26-9-4 for 56 points, nine games left
Montreal: 25-9-5 for 55 points, nine games left

Neither team plays against each other again in the regular season. The Bruins play six of their last nine games at home. They likely hope to build a nice cushion for themselves by playing five of their next six contests in Boston.

The Habs face nearly the opposite situation, as only three of their last nine games are in Montreal.

If you don’t have a horse in the race, the most entertaining scenario could be if the Bruins take the Northeast crown; that would likely set up a delicious Canadian showdown between the Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round.

Still, a lot can change in the next nine games.

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