Florida Panthers (35-26-15) at Boston Bruins (38-25-13), 7 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - A six-game losing streak threatened to derail Boston's playoff chances, but the Bruins are hoping to have that rough patch in the rearview mirror.
Boston hopes to continue on the right path when it shoots for a third straight victory in Tuesday's home clash against the Florida Panthers.
The Bruins went 0-3-3 from March 15-26, but have since followed with consecutive wins over the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes.
Although the skid allowed Ottawa to briefly take possession of the final wild card berth in the Eastern Conference, Boston has regained the spot and enters Tuesday with a three-point lead over the Senators. Ottawa still owns a game in hand over the Bruins, who have six games left on their schedule, and the Sens visit Detroit on Tuesday.
Florida, meanwhile, is four behind the Bruins with the same amount of games left in the regular season.
Boston won on consecutive days this weekend, beating the visiting Rangers by a 4-2 count on Saturday before edging the Hurricanes in overtime. David Pastrnak scored with 37 seconds left in OT to help the B's claim a 2-1 win on Sunday.
Carl Soderberg skated the puck in down the right wing and from the corner he sent a backhand, no-look pass to the left wing where it found Pastrnak, who one-timed a low shot between the pads of Anton Khudobin for the win.
"I was trying to shoot high because the goalie was coming from the other side," said Pastrnak about the goal. "It went low and it was in."
Ryan Spooner had the other goal and Tuukka Rask made 30 stops for the Bruins.
Boston is 22-10-7 as the host this season and has won seven straight and nine of its last 10 home games against the Panthers. However, Florida did halt a nine-game overall skid in this series with a 2-1 shootout win on March 21 at BB&T Center.
Brandon Pirri scored the lone marker of the shootout in Florida's recent home win over the Bruins. Roberto Luongo made 26 saves through overtime and stopped Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Spooner in the tiebreaker.
Rask turned aside 24-of-25 shots in the loss, which dropped him to 11-1-1 in his career against Florida. Boston's No. 1 netminder owns a stellar 1.05 goals against average over 13 lifetime appearances in this matchup.
Luongo is 13-12-1 with a 2.39 GAA in 30 career outings versus the Bruins. The veteran goalie aggravated a shoulder injury in Saturday's OT loss against Montreal, but he was able to serve as the backup for Sunday's game against Ottawa and could be well enough to start tonight.
Dan Ellis spelled Luongo on Sunday and stopped 25 shots to help the Panthers beat the Senators, 4-2. It was Ellis' first appearance since March 17.
"He was outstanding. Dan made some great saves tonight," said Florida coach Gerard Gallant.
Jaromir Jagr scored two goals to boost the Panthers' offense in the important contest. Jussi Jokinen and Dave Bolland also tallied for Florida.
Tonight's contest marks the end of a five-game road trip for the Panthers. They are 2-1-1 on the swing and 17-15-8 as the guest this season.
Florida's final five tests of the regular season will come on home ice. The five-game homestand begins Thursday against Carolina.
The Bruins and Panthers will meet one more time in the regular season when Florida hosts the season-series finale on April 9.