It seems the Bruins insurmountable lead isn't so insurmountable after all.
The Bruins entered Wednesday night's game with the Canadiens just a single point ahead of Tampa Bay for first in the Atlantic, something that seemed near impossible just a couple of months ago.
Part of that has been the Lightning's torrid play; they won eight in a row entering Wednesday night and found several ways to do it, with back-to-back overtime wins in Columbus and Pittsburgh and sweeping a California trip.
The Bruins haven't played poorly out of the break, with six initial wins in a row. While teams are allowed a hiccup here and there, a loss like Sunday's in Detroit is almost not affordable with how the Lightning are coming on.
They can't worry about how the Lightning have righted the ship; they just have to beat the teams they're supposed to and then some.
* We obviously recognize (what the lead is) because we have the standings in the locker room and we can see the teams climbing up, but overall we can't focus on anybody's game besides our own,” said Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo. * We're just going to continue on our path. We had a good reset after the break and we just want to continue on that positive path.”
The Lightning had success in the regular season a year ago before being swept out of the first round by the Blue Jackets. This year, they've faced a bit of adversity and are chasing the Bruins.
* You can go back over the years and see which teams took advantage of that. Clearly, Tampa didn't last year,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “I think every team would tell you they'd like to have home ice, but I don't think any teams would tell you that they're celebrating the President's Trophy. … It just means you've had a successful regular season. Does that automatically translate in the playoffs? No. We've seen that because there's too much parity.”
It's not the end of the world if the Bruins don't have that top seed in the postseason; after all, they didn't a year ago and ended up with home ice throughout anyhow.
This time it might just be the loss of morale from losing such a large divisional lead.
Nordstrom back in action
Joakim Nordstrom has struggled to stay on the ice this season with numerous injuries but returned to the lineup on Wednesday against the Canadiens, reunited with his fourth-line mates.
“Stay healthy; that's been an issue for me for more than half the season with the sickness and injury, so being healthy is a key point,” said Nordstrom. “We want to be good, we want to be reliable, solid defensively, playing with the puck and being strong on pucks down low in the O-zone.”
Nordstrom, who has four goals this season, missed the last three games with allergies and missed parts of earlier in the season with an infection issue in his elbow.
Jeremy Lauzon served the second game of his two-game suspension on Wednesday night after he was recalled once again from Providence.
John Moore, who also played Sunday in Detroit in Lauzon's place, played with Matt Grzelcyk on the bottom pair. Lauzon was suspended following his match penalty for a high hit on Arizona's Derek Stepan on Saturday.