Bruins

Bruins and Red Wings fighting each other for their playoff lives

The Bruins are sliding, and their main competition for a playoff bid are nipping at their heels.

The Bruins cluster in front of Tuukka Rask during their 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils. It was Boston's 6th loss in 7 games. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After Tuesday’s disappointing loss to the New Jersey Devils, the Bruins and their fans turned to the Montreal Canadiens for help.

Trailing the Detroit Red Wings by one goal in the third period, Montreal scored twice in the final frame, allowing the Bruins to hold onto the third playoff seed in the Atlantic Division. A win by the Red Wings would have allowed Detroit to leapfrog the Bruins, putting Boston outside the playoff bubble with five games left.

With Metropolitan Division teams like the New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers playing good hockey when it matters most, it seems as if the only road to postseason hockey for the Bruins and Red Wings will come through the Atlantic Division. With the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers safely in the Atlantic’s top two playoff spots, it’s going to be either the Bruins or Red Wings who will be packing their bags once the regular season ends on April 9th.

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The Bruins and Red Wings are both off until Friday night. The Bruins head to St. Louis to take on the Blues while the Wings host the Minnesota Wild.

Being a point ahead of the Red Wings with a TD Garden tilt between the two teams scheduled for April 7 , the Bruins hold their destiny in their own hands.

The schedules over the next week and a half for both the Bruins and the Wings are difficult ones. The Bruins have road games in St. Louis and Chicago before coming home to finish the season with three straight games against the Hurricanes, Red Wings and Senators.

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The Red Wings alternate home and road games against the Wild, Maple Leafs, Flyers and Bruins before ending the season at Madison Square Garden for a matinée against the New York Rangers. Detroit’s road games in Toronto and Boston both come on the second night of back-to-back sets.

It’s clear the game between the two teams on April 7 is going to the be most important game of the season for both, but what takes place in the three games prior is going to be key for the Bruins and Red Wings.

Against their remaining opponents, the Red Wings are 4-4-3 while the Bruins are 5-3-2. The two have struggled of late where the Bruins have just three wins in their last 10 while the Wings have evenly split their last five contests.

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Although already locked into playoff spots, both the Blues and Blackhawks are battling with the Stars for the top spot in the Central Division, making the Bruins’ next two games even more challenging. With their recent struggles against some of the better teams in the Western Conference front and center, the Bruins cannot afford to drop both of their final two regular season road contests.

Sure, a win on April 7 could be the final nail in the coffin for a Red Wings squad that is looking to clinch a postseason berth for the 25th consecutive season, but if the Bruins don’t take care of business against their other four opponents, the game against Detroit may not matter.

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The Bruins are slumping, big time. It’s déjà vu all over again as this is the same story seen last year as the Bruins missed the playoffs for the first time under Claude Julien. The Bruins haven’t been playing terribly, but haven’t been great; some tough puck luck and bad bounces have haunted them of late.

Like the Bruins, the Red Wings haven’t done themselves any favors. Losses to the Penguins and most recently, the Canadiens have hurt.

The Bruins and Red Wings are two teams heading in the wrong direction while the other teams in the Eastern Conference playoff race continue to play better and better hockey leading into the final weeks of the regular season.

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The Bruins have just 16 goals in their last 10 games as the goal scoring woes continue. With five games left, the Bruins need to figure it out. Their survival hinges on it.

36 images that will remind you how tough the ‘Big Bad Bruins’ were

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