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As gratifying as Tuesday’s 1-0 win was over the Devils, being on the other side of a 1-0 game stings like nothing else. Well, Thursday night’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of the lowly Florida Panthers did just that: a stinging defeat that by season’s end, could mean the difference between a playoff bound Bruins team and a B’s squad that could be golfing by mid-April.
Behind 36 saves from Panthers backup goaltender Scott Clemmensen, Florida was able to put an end to their four-game losing streak, topping a listless Bruins team that just can’t find a way to put the puck in the net, a problem that has plagued the team all season long.
The only goal on the night came in the eighth minute of the game, as Florida’s Keith Ballard skated up the slot and wristed one through Tuukka Rask on his stick side. Ballard’s seventh goal of the year would prove to be all the Panthers would need, as the former B.C. Eagle Clemmensen posted his fifth career shutout in front of his former college town’s fans.
Thankfully, the loss doesn’t end up costing the Bruins any ground in the playoff race after all…just a missed opportunity to climb the standings. Philadelphia, who is in a tie with Boston and Montreal for sixth in the East, lost to the Islanders Thursday, while the Canadiens were idle. Atlanta, who sits just two points behind the trio of playoff bound squads, also lost, falling to the kings of the Eastern Conference, the Capitals. So, with just five games remaining in what has been a topsy-turvy regular season, the Bruins still control their playoff destiny.
Next up on the docket for the Black and Gold, “Kesselmania VI,” otherwise known as a trip to Toronto on Saturday, to face former Bruin Phil Kessel and the Maple Leafs, the Eastern Conference’s worst team.