Everything has been said that could be said by the Boston Bruins after their shootout loss against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday evening. It was in their grasp, and they just couldn’t pull the trigger. While they certainly did a good job of controlling much of the play, and limiting Carolina to a single goal, they likewise were limited to their single goal by the impressive work of Cam Ward during regulation.
Perhaps it was because the Hurricanes are out of the playoff run that they proved to be so formidable—they had nothing to lose. There is something to be said for playing simply for the freedom to play and to show you can. However, a positive attitude at this juncture of the season is important as an educational opportunity for the younger players as well who may not yet have faced such a disappointment.
“I mean at the end of the day this is the top league in the world. It’s the NHL and you’ve got to be professional about it,” Ward said after their win. “You’ve got to look at every game you put on the jersey and you’ve got to wear it proud and play for something. At the end of the day you’re getting paid to perform and it would obviously be nice to have something to play for, but proud of the guys that stepped up.”
You’ve got to wear the jersey proud. Such a simple sentence, but by no means a simple sentiment. And when you are out of the playoff run, perhaps that pride is what you hold on to as you finish out the last games—giving any team you play a run for their money. That sentiment was not lost on rookie Noah Hanifin, the Boston native who, for the second time that these teams have met in Boston this season, took the win away from the home team.
“”It’s huge I think. You know this is a job for us now, and you know just because we are out of the playoffs doesn’t mean we can take nights off,” Hanifin said. “You know we got to show character and I think we’ve been doing that, we’ve been playing hard and you know we have a lot of young guys in this room who are definitely showing a lot of heart I think.”
The Bruins have two more games that they must win, but they also need some luck from the hockey gods to make it into the playoffs now. While they will be taking on the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night, a team that is now two points ahead of them and in third place in the Atlantic Division, the Philadelphia Flyers will be playing against the Toronto Maple Leaps, another team out of the playoffs. The Flyers have games in hand and are sitting in the bottom wild card spot at this moment. Some teams have underestimated the Maple Leafs, who have shown they can bring a tight and strong game. While Bruins fans will be watching how the Black and Gold do against the Red Wings, they should be keeping track of the Flyers score tonight as well. How Philadelphia does in their final games may end up being the only opening the Bruins have to squeeze into the playoffs.