On Saturday night, the Bruins lost Dougie Hamilton to an undisclosed injury, a shootout to the Panthers and, although they still sit eighth in the Eastern Conference, ultimate control of the final playoff spot.
After the B’s and Panthers skated to a 1-1 tie through 65 minutes, Brandon Pirri scored the only goal of the shootout as Florida took a 2-1 win and improved to 80 points on the season through 72 games.
The loser point gave the B’s 84 points through 72 games, but a Senators victory over the Maple Leafs Saturday improved Ottawa to 83 points through 71 games, as they hold a game in hand on Boston. Should both teams win all their remaining games, the Senators would get in over the Bruins.
Dougie Hamilton left with an undisclosed injury that appeared to be suffered on a second-period play in which he was hit by both Nick Bjugstad and Scottie Upshall.
Hamilton left the game early in the second period, but returned to take four more shifts in the second. He was not on the bench to begin the third period, with the team announcing shortly after that he was done for the night.
The Bruins will play the second game of their current back-to-back Sunday in Tampa.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
Reilly Smith missed the first game of his Bruins career Saturday night, and it wasn’t for a particularly flattering reason.
Smith was made a healthy scratch for the Panthers game after committing a pair of turnovers that led to goals Thursday night against the Senators. Smith had also been benched for all but one shift of the final 28:03 of the Senators game.
With Smith benched, Brian Ferlin was inserted into the lineup on the fourth line and Daniel Paille moved up to play with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
The lines were as follows:
Claude Julien moved David Pastrnak up to play with Bergeron and Marchand in the third period, though that could have been due to a possible injury for Paille, who was back on the ice for overtime.
KELLY PUSHES RIGHT BUTTONS
Ryan Spooner and Dougie Hamilton picked up the assists on Bergeron’s second-period goal, but Chris Kelly played just as big a part.
Kelly, who is sneaky good at pestering opponents to draw penalties, took a shot at Dave Bolland in the neutral zone, knocking his helmet off and getting Bolland to high-stick him. Only Bolland’s infraction was called, and it led to the power play on which Bergeron tied the game.
This wasn’t the first time Kelly has irked an opponent to successfully draw a retaliatory penalty. He did it before a faceoff to Jakub Voracek back on Jan. 10, getting Voracek to take an interference penalty off a faceoff to set up a Boston power play on which David Pastrnak scored.
SEIDENBERG HAS ANOTHER ROUGH NIGHT
This obviously hasn’t been a good season for Dennis Seidenberg, but you could imagine the veteran defenseman was especially looking to bounce back from a horrid showing in which he and partner Matt Bartkowski for the Senators’ first three goals Thursday. It didn’t happen.
Seidenberg took a penalty in each of the first two periods Saturday, but it was a lapse in coverage that was particularly costly Saturday. Jimmy Hayes slipped behind the 33-year-old defenseman in front of the net, leaving him space to take a feed that Bolland backhanded toward the net from the corner and jam it past Rask.
Rask bailed out Seidenberg and every other Bruin on the ice late in the game when he reached back to rob Bolland with a brilliant stick save on what looked like a sure goal for the Panthers with about seven minutes left in regulation.
THORNTON HITS 600
Former Bruin Shawn Thornton skated in his 600th NHL game. The vast majority came with the Bruins, as Thornton played in 450 regular-season contests for the B’s.
An interesting note from the great Jack Edwards: Thornton became the first player to play 600 AHL games before playing 600 NHL games.