Thanks for nothing Boston, New Jersey and to a lesser extent, Los Angeles and Vegas.
For the second straight night, the Bruins failed to help out the Florida Panthers. After allowing the Philadelphia Flyers to jump the Cats on Monday, Boston dropped a 3-0 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets that allowed John Tortorella’s club to pass the Panthers, too.
The Flyers and Blue Jackets are now tied for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference with 54 points. Florida remains one point behind with a game in hand on Philadelphia and two in hand on Columbus.
Toronto bounced back for its ugly defeat in Sunrise with a 7-4 win over the Devils to open up a three-point lead on the Cats for third place in the Atlantic Division with the Panthers holding two games in hand on the Maple Leafs.
Florida’s next opponent, the Kings, fell 4-3 in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. The surging Bolts are now within six points of the first place Bruins with two games in hand and Tuukka Rask lost to a concussion. As unlikely as it seemed a few weeks ago, it’s starting to look like it’s just a matter of time before the Lightning run down Boston.
The fifth place Buffalo Sabres gained two points on the Panthers with a 4-2 win over the faltering Golden Knights. The Sabres are still four points behind the Cats and have played two more games, but two wins in a row have them remaining on the periphery of the playoff chase.
Florida will hold an 11 a.m. practice today at Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs. Barring any breaking news, just keep here until tomorrow morning’s Kings Caterwaul.
The game to watch tonight is Philadelphia at St. Louis - 8 p.m. on NBCSN. A Blues win would be a big help.