BOSTON -- The scramble for Eastern Conference playoff spots moves to Boston when the Ottawa Senators visit the Bruins on Tuesday night.
Both Atlantic Division foes come in with losing streaks that just might endanger their plans for April -- the Senators 0-2-2 in their last four and the Bruins losing their last two and turning a 2-0 road trip into just 2-2.
Monday night, a late penalty call on Dominic Moore, one Bruins interim coach Bruce Cassidy called "egregious," led to the Toronto Maple Leafs pulling out their fourth win in as many tries against Boston this year, 4-2. Afterward, Cassidy, 12-5-0 since replacing the fired Claude Julien, said his team had to shake it off because "we got Ottawa to prepare for tomorrow now."
Here is the math on the playoff picture:
The Senators are in second place, four points behind the Montreal Canadiens and four ahead of the Bruins, with a game in hand on Boston. The Bruins now lead the Maple Leafs by just a point, Toronto with a game in hand for both third in the Atlantic and the second wild-card spot.
Toronto is three points up on the New York Islanders and four ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"It's one of those that hurts," Patrice Bergeron said after Boston's Monday loss. "We talked about before the game doing the job and we didn't do it."
The Senators picked up only one of a possible four points in their weekend home-and-home with the Montreal Canadiens, the leaders of the Atlantic Division. Their four-game losing skid comes after a six-game winning streak.
After Sunday night's loss, Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson said, "It was one of those games they were better than us, we've got to admit it. We've got a lot of work to do. But I still think we're a really good team, we believe in ourselves, and we have no issues whatsoever with what's going on right now."
The Sens are making their first visit to Boston this season. They won both games against the Bruins in Ottawa -- 3-1 on Nov. 24 and 4-2 just two weeks ago. They return to TD Garden April 6, with the very real chance of a first-round playoff series staring at the two teams.
Ottawa has won its last four games against Boston.
Tuesday's game marks the return to TD Garden for former Bruin Chris Kelly, who suffered a broken leg the last time he skated there -- Nov. 3, 2015.
"They carried me off the ice," Kelly told the Ottawa Sun on Monday. "It was a solid three seconds because that's all I managed. I jumped on the ice and broke the (femur). That was the last time. It's nice actually because that's not the way I wanted to end playing at the Garden.
"It'll be nice to get back on the ice there."
Kelly was traded by the Sens to the Bruins in 2011 and won a Stanley Cup in Boston that season.
"Coming here, when I got traded, having an opportunity to win with the team and being a part of a few more good teams, we had a lot of good memories and a lot of fun," he said. "I made a lot of great friendships and I really enjoyed living in the city."
During Monday's game, the Bruins announced Noel Acciari was transitioned from an emergency recall to regular recall and that Sean Kuraly was sent back to AHL Providence.