BOSTON — Coach Jeremy Colliton liked the idea of the Blackhawks putting their seven-game winning streak on the line against the Bruins, a near-certain playoff team, because they would see how close they are to reaching that level.
Or how far, in this case.
The Hawks’ best run of the season ended with a jarring 6-3 loss Tuesday in a game the Bruins controlled most of the night. Erik Gustafsson cut the Hawks’ deficit to 4-3 with 15 minutes left, but the Bruins quickly snuffed out the drama, as playoff teams often do.
‘‘We had a good run, and at some point it was going to end,’’ said Colliton, who thought the Hawks looked passive. ‘‘For me, it’s more important how we’re going to respond.
‘‘Do we continue as when we were playing well, playing sharp, playing hard, playing for the team, excited about the opportunity we have? Or do we kind of shrink? That’s the challenge.’’
Colliton rejected the assertion the Bruins were simply a far superior opponent and pointed to Gustafsson’s goal as proof the Hawks were capable of contending with them. He lamented that the Hawks had ‘‘a lot of guys not at their best tonight.’’
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The Hawks’ seven-game surge got them as close as two points from a wild-card spot. They remained four points behind the Wild, who lost at home to the Flyers.
The Hawks have been feasting on the softest part of their schedule and have a chance to continue doing so. Three of their next four opponents are in last place or second-to-last in their divisions, starting with a home game Thursday against the Devils.
‘‘Nothing’s a given,’’ said defenseman Duncan Keith, who scored his third goal of the season. ‘‘Every team is good. Every two points is going to be a hard-fought two points, and we don’t have any place for complacency or anything like that. I mean, look at the standings and look where we’re at.’’
Patrick Kane assisted on a goal by Alex DeBrincat 4:22 into the game to extend his point streak to 15 games, the longest active run in the NHL. He has 11 goals and 21 assists during that span.
The Hawks went from leading 1-0 on DeBrincat’s goal to trailing 4-1 late in the second period.
The Bruins outshot the Hawks 37-26, and their six goals were the most rookie goalie Collin Delia has allowed.
‘‘He’s fine,’’ Colliton said of Delia. ‘‘I don’t think it’s his best game, but he wasn’t put in a great spot, either.’’