The Boston Bruins suffered their sixth loss in seven games Tuesday night, falling to the New Jersey Devils 2-1 at Prudential Center despite outshooting New Jersey 40-15.
With five games remaining on their regular-season schedule, the Bruins’ Stanley Cup playoff chances are hanging by a thread.
Let’s dive into some notes from Tuesday night.
— Torey Krug, Patrice Bergeron and Matt Beleskey combined for 16 shots on goal for the Bruins, outshooting the entire Devils team by themselves. Krug, who hasn’t scored since Dec. 5 and has just three goals all season, led the way with a game-high six shots while also pacing all skaters with 23:43 of ice time.
— Despite the loss, Boston remained in third place in the Atlantic Division after receiving some help from its archrival. The Montreal Canadiens rallied in the third period to beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 on Tuesday, preventing the Red Wings from leapfrogging the Bruins in the standings.
The B’s lead the Wings by just one point, and with the Metropolitan Division’s New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers currently occupying the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card slots, there’s a growing chance that the Atlantic’s fourth-place finisher will watch the postseason from home.
The Bruins and Red Wings square off in a head-to-head matchup next Thursday at TD Garden in the second-to-last regular-season game for both teams. But first …
— Boston’s final two road games are brutally difficult ones: a Friday night matchup with the St. Louis Blues, followed by a Sunday matinee against the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks.
“It’s a tight race, and we need the wins,” Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask told reporters, as aired on “Bruins Overtime LIVE.” “So, a tough loss (Tuesday night), but we have to bounce back. (We have) a tough trip coming up to St. Louis and Chicago.”
St. Louis has been a freight train of late, outscoring opponents 15-1 over a five-game winning streak. That streak includes three shutouts by starting goalie Brian Elliott, another by backup Jake Allen and a 4-0 beatdown of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals.
The Blues also shut out the Bruins 2-0 at the Garden when the teams first met in late December.
— The Blackhawks could very well be without two-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Duncan Keith for Sunday’s tilt.
Keith was assessed a match penalty and ejected from Tuesday’s loss to the Minnesota Wild after he swung his stick into the face of Wild forward Charlie Coyle.
Under NHL rules, Keith faces an indefinite suspension pending a league review, and because he has been suspended twice in his career, it would not be at all surprising if he got at least a game or two for this latest infraction.
Thumbnail photo via Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask