WILMINGTON – Things are now out of the Bruins control when it comes to their postseason fate, and that’s just the way it’s going to be for a second straight season in Boston. The Bruins dropped their Tuesday night game to the merely average Carolina Hurricanes in the shootout, and the Red Wings jumped ahead of the Black and Gold with a solid 3-0 regulation win over the Philadelphia Flyers at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday night.
That sets up an important showdown between the Bruins and Red Wings on Thursday night at TD Garden where the Bruins need a regulation victory in order to keep their flickering postseason hopes alive. It’s not a situation that the B’s players are particularly happy about, and certainly they shouldn’t be after going a pathetic 2-7-1 over their last 10 games while limping heavily to close out the regular season.
“It’s still in our hands, so we need to go out there and do our jobs,” said Patrice Bergeron. “The biggest thing is you have to be confident, and you have to believe. But at the same time there are no more chances here. We have to seize it, and go out there and do it.”
Unfortunately for the Bruins, it isn’t completely in their hands anymore. They could still miss out on the playoffs even if they take down the Red Wings in regulation in their penultimate game of the regular season on Thursday. Most of the Bruins players admitted they’d be watching the Wings/Flyers game on Wednesday night, and they come away from that Eastern Conference battle with a result that wasn’t advantageous in any way.
“If we get two points [against Carolina] then it makes it a little bit easier, but that’s what we’ve dealt ourselves,” said Matt Beleskey, with his typical no-nonsense filter to all subjects. “You just have to deal with it, hope for the best and let the Hockey Gods do all the work.
“It’s an exciting time of year, and it’s do-or-die. 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 bottom line for the Bruins: they need to win Thursday night’s game in regulation, and they need to win the Saturday afternoon matinee against the Ottawa Senators in regulation as well. In that scenario the Red Wings can’t do any better than a shootout win in their regular season finale against the banged up New York Rangers, or the Bruins will fall short of the playoffs for a second straight unforgivable season.
The Bruins could also still pass the Flyers for the final wild card spot, but would need to win both of their final two games with Philly managing less than 5 points in their final three games after Wednesday night’s loss in Detroit.