BOSTON — For the first time in a long time, the Bruins have company at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

After a 4-1 loss to the Seattle Kraken at TD Garden on Thursday night, the Bruins fell into a tie for the top spot in the Atlantic Division with the Florida Panthers, who shut out the Buffalo Sabres.

Boston and Florida are knotted in the top spot of the Eastern Conference with 74 points. The New York Rangers sit just one point behind in the conference standings as the leaders of the Metropolitan Division.

While owning the No. 1 spot wire-to-wire is often encouraging, that doesn’t always translate to postseason success. Look no further than Boston’s first-round exit last year after a record-setting regular season. In fact, the Bruins have failed to reach the Stanley Cup Finals in the last three seasons where they won the President’s Trophy.

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While that doesn’t mean Boston won’t put full effort into regaining sole possession of the top spot, the Bruins have several learning opportunities in the race to the postseason.

“I think it’s great,” Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo told reporters. “I think after last year, we don’t pay too much attention to that. It’s more so just about maintaining a playoff position.”

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Carlo explained how seeing potential postseason competition in the standings is a fun opportunity in the spirit of the sport. At the same time, the Bruins are progressing with an inward view, improving themselves first while understanding that teams are closing in.

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“We definitely focus on ourselves here in this room,” Bruins forward David Pastrnak told reporters. “… We have to get back in the win column, because teams are breathing down our neck.”

The Bruins can take the first step in embracing the challenge when they return to their home ice on Saturday to host the Los Angeles Kings.

Featured image via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images