Well, we knew the worst that could happen was a 13th place Boston Bruins team come Friday night. The right teams won [depending on which way you look at it] tonight – all making their mark up the Eastern Conference standings – as the Bruins can merely sit back, watch, and play the waiting game from 10th place overall in the East.
The Florida Panthers, now 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, slipped by the seventh-place Montreal Canadiens [55 points] tonight at the Bank Atlantic Center, 2-1. The Panthers [55 points] have leapfrogged over the Black and Gold into ninth-place in the Eastern Conference with tonight’s victory – while hanging on to second place in the Southeast Division by a point.
Panthers’ net-minder Tomas Vokoun kicked aside 16 of 17 shots he faced against the Habs, en route to his 18th victory of the season, and a 3-1-1 record in his last five starts.
Still one-point behind the Panthers in the Southeast are the Atlanta Thrashers, who also won tonight, 2-1. Atlanta’s win was backstopped by The Moose, Johan Hedberg, as he stopped 34 of 35 shots the Anaheim Ducks put his way for his 11th “W” of the season. The Thrashers lost a season-high nine straight games [0-6-3] before rolling out a 5-3-2 record in their last 10 contests.
Ilya Kovalchuk and the Thrashers sit in 11th place in the East , just one point behind the Bruins, and could leapfrog the B’s on Thursday night as they take on the Flyers in Philadelphia.
It wasn’t a full trifecta tonight against the Bruins, but two-out-of-three was just as bad. The New York Islanders are jockeying for that 11th seed with the Atlanta Thrashers with their 54-points. Let me say that again. Yes, the New York Islanders are just one-point behind the Bruins in the Eastern Conference. The Isles lost their second-straight tonight, 7-2 against the Washington Capitals, remaining in fifth-place in the Atlantic Division.
Good thing that other team from New York has lost three-straight. The Rangers [55 points] are clinging on to that fourth spot in the Atlantic, and are hanging on by the same fingernails as the Bruins for the seventh-place seed in the East.
Meanwhile, to add insult to injury, the Ottawa Senators blanked the New Jersey Devils tonight, 3-0. The Sens have now won seven-straight – including two shutouts – and are 7-3-0 in their last ten. Three points now separate the sixth-place Flyers with the 13th place Tampa Bay Lightning.
6. Flyers – 55
7. Rangers – 55
8. Panthers – 55
9. Canadiens – 55
10. Bruins – 54
11. Thrashers – 54
12. Islanders – 54
13. Lighting – 52
The Bruins will hit the road on Thursday to face the Northeast Division-leading Buffalo Sabres Friday night at 7:30pm EST. Until then, here are some upcoming games that all Bruins’ fans should keep tabs on:
 New Jersey Devils @  Buffalo Sabres
 Carolina Hurricanes @  New York Rangers
 Montreal Canadiens @  Tampa Bay Lightning
 Atlanta Thrashers @  Philadelphia Flyers
 Ottawa Senators @  Pittsburgh Penguins
 New York Islanders @  Carolina Hurricanes