(SportsNetwork.com) - Even avoiding a third straight loss might not be enough to get the Boston Bruins into the playoffs.
The Bruins hope to get a little bit of help and also defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night in their critical regular-season finale.
Boston looked to be rolling into a playoff spot with a recent run of five straight wins, but is now just on the outside looking in following consecutive setbacks to the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers.
The Bruins have 95 points, one back of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and two behind the Ottawa Senators for the first extra playoff berth. Boston has one fewer non-shootout win than Pittsburgh, but one more than Ottawa.
The Senators are in action early on Saturday as they visit the Philadelphia Flyers for a matinee matchup, while the Penguins visit the Buffalo Sabres in the evening.
Boston did itself no favors with Thursday's 4-2 loss to Florida. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand had goals, while Tuukka Rask gave up four goals on 30 shots faced.
"It's tough," said Boston center Chris Kelly. "We've been a proud group that's always wanted to do things on our own and we're looking for help."
Rask figures to get the start with the season on the line and has excellent career numbers versus the Lightning. He is 9-3-0 in 12 games with a 2.33 goals against average, .915 save percentage and three shutouts.
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, still has a shot at the Atlantic Division title as it trails the first-place Montreal Canadiens by two points. The Lightning have four more non-shootout wins, giving them an edge in a potential tiebreaker, so they need a victory and a regulation loss by the Habs to the hosting Toronto Maple Leafs tonight to earn the crown.
The Bolts earned a second straight win with Thursday's 4-3 overtime decision against the New Jersey Devils. Tyler Johnson won it with his second goal of the game, a power-play tally 82 seconds into the bonus frame.
Steven Stamkos and Nikita Nesterov also scored in regulation, while Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat had three assists each. Ben Bishop made 21 saves.
"I didn't like the goals we gave up," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. "We were way too (relaxed) defensively."
Still, Tampa Bay extended new franchise records set this season with its 49th win overall and 31st at home. Also, Stamkos is now just two points shy of 500 for his career.
Bishop is 1-3-2 with a 3.33 GAA and .887 save percentage in six meetings with the Bruins. That lone victory came in a 5-3 home win on March 22, one that snapped the Lightning's 10-game losing streak to the Bruins.