The Boston Bruins might possess the second Wild Card seed, but they’ve placed their fate at the mercy of the Ottawa Senators after dropping five straight, including Sunday’s 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has been a bright spot for Boston in what has been a shaky season, but he couldn’t save them tonight. Tampa Bay found the back of the net four times on 12 shots before Boston pulled Rask in favor of Niklas Svedberg midway through the second period.
Svedberg surrendered a power-play goal to Ondrej Palat at 13:50 of the third frame, but he otherwise held his own. Meanwhile, Boston fought back over the final 20 minutes, outshooting the Lightning 11-4 over that span, but the damage had already been done.
While Boston is a single point ahead of Ottawa, it has played in two more games. The Bruins might not be in possession of the second Wild Card spot when their season resumes on Thursday depending on how Ottawa’s game against San Jose goes on Monday.
Boston’s recent slump has also put the Panthers back in the running. Florida is trailing the Bruins by four points and has played in one less contest. The Panthers still have two games left against the Bruins after earning a 2-1 shootout win against them on Saturday, so they still have an opportunity to make that gap close.
For the Lightning, this game puts them two points behind the Montreal Canadiens in the battle for the Atlantic Division title. Tampa Bay is also still in the running for the Presidents’ Trophy with just nine contests remaining in its schedule.