The Boston Bruins are skating on very thin ice, it seems.
Losing Kevan Miller for the rest of the season? That was pretty bad, but not something that Boston couldn’t overcome. Only getting David Krejci for about a third of the season? Things are looking a little worse. Brett Connolly out with a broken finger just days after getting traded to the team? Boston is going to need luck more than anything.
Losing Dougie Hamilton? That could be the final straw.
Hamilton left the Bruins’ shootout loss against the Florida Panthers and didn’t return; now, the team has been informed that he’s day to day with an undisclosed lower body injury. If Boston was excited about the impending return of top line center David Krejci, this might curb their enthusiasm.
The game itself was closer than Boston fans wanted it to be, but certainly not a terrible game — the surprisingly surging Florida Panthers have been pushing for a playoff spot for a few weeks now, and looked like it. Meanwhile, the Bruins have been playing with an eclectic, cobbled-together lineup for months — the lack of a replacement for Jarome Iginla has been blatant since the seasons began — and with netminder Tuukka Rask getting more than his fair share of starts, the on-ice product for Boston has looked as tired as one might expect.
Although a shootout win is one that wouldn’t have been heavily celebrated for Boston, though, it certainly would have signaled a turn-around in how the team approaches the breakaway shots. While Rask is having trouble of his own in the shootout, the team’s inability to find the back of the net themselves has prevented them from winning that extra point in the gimmick-y decisions.
With this loss, Boston’s tenuous grip on the second Wild Card spot slips even more — they’re now tied with the Ottawa Senators at 83 points apiece, and the Sens are on a winning streak. If Dougie Hamilton is indeed out for a stretch of time, the Bruins could be completely sunk — the playoffs are too close to make a resurgence after any extended absence by the young blue liner.
The only consolation? The Kings are still out of the playoffs, and the Pittsburgh Penguins — yet another strangely struggling powerhouse — are close to slipping out of the post-season, as well.