The Bruins came one point short of their goal on Tuesday. That might ultimately be the story of their season should they miss the playoffs.
In suffering a 2-1 shootout loss to the Hurricanes, the Bruins ceded the ability to control their own destiny. Even if the Bruins win their next two games, including a regulation or overtime win against the Red Wings, Detroit can still reach the playoffs by winning its other two games in regulation or overtime.
The B’s are now tied with the Red Wings with 91 points on the season, though the Wings have one more game remaining and they hold a one-game advantage in regulation and overtime wins, the first tiebreaker for playoff positioning.
The Red Wings will come to Boston Thursday after playing the Flyers on Wednesday.
Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:
HAYES, MILLERS RETURN
Jimmy Hayes was back in the lineup after sitting Boston’s previous two games as a healthy scratch.
Hayes skated on the Bruins’ fourth line and attempted to get engaged by dropping the gloves in the first period. The bout didn’t go particularly well, as Hayes was taken down by Brad Malone.
As expected, Colin Miller and Kevan Miller were also in Tuesday’s lineup, while the injured Dennis Seidenberg and Brett Connolly remained out. The lineup looked as such:
Claude Julien switched up his lines in the second period, changing the top nine to the following:
MISBEHAVIOR PAYS OFF
Loui Eriksson’s only involvement in penalties is drawing them, killing them and making opposing PK units wish their team didn’t take them.
On Tuesday, Eriksson took part in the rare act of committing penalties, as his second-period calls for goaltender interference and then tripping marked the first time all season that Eriksson was called for multiple penalties in a game.
Eriksson ended up redeeming himself, as he raced out of the box following the expiration of his tripping penalty early in the third (the penalty was taken with 29 seconds left in the second) and took advantage of a bad line Carolina line change to score a breakaway goal.
The goal was Eriksson’s 29th goal of the season.
The Bruins had two first-period power plays and spent many of the game’s early minutes in Carolina’s zone, but the tide began to turn as the period went on. Tuukka Rask came through big with consecutive saves on Jay McClement and Nathan Gerbe from in close, followed by a lengthy stay in the defensive zone from Ryan Spooner’s line. The Bruins managed through it, but minutes later Carolina scored the period’s only goal on a wrist shot from Jaccob Slavin.
Slavin’s shot from the left point was contested by Brad Marchand, and it appeared the puck may have changed direction on its way past Rask’s glove side. Whether Rask saw it cleanly or not, it marked the fifth straight game in which the B’s allowed the first goal.
CHANCES ALLOWED BUT, CHARA SAVES THE DAY
The opponent entered the game 25th in the league in goals per game and the Bruins still gave up a lot of chances, but they still saw an improvement from their two-game west-coast road trip that saw them allow 11 goals.
In one of the instances in which the Hurricanes did capitalize on their chances, the B’s still managed to bail themselves out. After a Brett Pesce shot trickled through Tuukka Rask with less than two minutes to play, Zdeno Chara sept it out of the crease to save the Bruins at least a point.
The Hurricanes also hit a pair of posts, including one on a bid that Slavin that could have ended the game in overtime.