The Boston Bruins failed to clinch third in the Atlantic Division after losing 3-1 against the Washington Capitals on Saturday at TD Garden.
The Bruins are tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place. The Leafs defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3, with one game left in the regular season.
Boston has 42 regulation/overtime wins, while Toronto has 39.
“I didn’t feel we were invested enough in most areas of the game to beat the first-place team in the National Hockey League,” said Bruce Cassidy, Bruins coach. “Probably that simple to me. They’re a good hockey club, they don’t have a lot of weaknesses and you’ve got to be on your ‘A’ game and we didn’t have our ‘A’ game,” Cassidy told the NHL.
Capitals goalie Grubauer made 21 saves for the Capitals, giving the Washington team home-ice advantage in the playoffs. The team has won four games in a row, and 10 out of the last 11 games.
Bruins goalie Anton Khudobin made 21 saves on 24 shots before leaving the ice due to illness. Tuukka Rask made eight saves.
The Capitals lost a goal due to goaltender interference, but Justin Williams extended Washington’s lead 3-1 with just 50 seconds left in the game.
The Bruins will enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2014, and will be up against either the Ottawa Senators or the Washington Capitals.
When asked who he’d rather face off in the playoffs, Cassidy was apprehensive to answer. “I don’t like to go down that road. We’re going to be confident no matter who we play. In a nutshell, Washington is the better team; I would say that, go on record saying that. Ottawa’s playing very good hockey right now, we’ve had a tough time with them. So they both present their challenges,” said Cassidy
The playoffs kick off on Wednesday. The schedule will be announced on Sunday.