As of the morning of March 22nd, here are the NHL Eastern Conference Standings:
Few things to note:
- The Bruins do not have a playoff spot locked up, thanks to the resurgence of the Flyers. The Bruins could get bumped by the Red Wings in the Atlantic Standings and then fall below both the Penguins/Islanders and Flyers in the wild card. In fact, if the Flyers win both of the games that they have in hand over the Bruins, then the 2 teams are tied. That’s concerning.
- Boston’s chance at winning the Atlantic are waning by the day. Thanks to the 3 consecutive losses in California, the B’s will have to both go on a run to end the season and have both the Panthers and Lightning sputter.
- Most importantly, if the Bruins fall to one of the wild card spots, then they’re probably the 8th seed and not the 7th. The Islanders are 1 point back of the Bruins with 2 games in hand, and my guess is that they’ll hang onto the 1st wild card spot. If Pittsburgh falls back to 4th in the Metropolitan, then they’ll still probably be ahead of the Bruins thanks to going 8-2 in their last 10.
The Bruins simply cannot fall back into wild card territory. Not only do they risk becoming the 9th seed in the East for the 2nd year in a row, but they also would likely fall into the Metropolitan side of the Eastern Conference playoff bracket. As the 8th seed, they would face Washington in the 1st round, and I don’t think I have to explain to you how scary that would be. Thanks to the fact that Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid, and Kevan Miller all own Claude Julien’s sex tape (only explanation for why they are in the top 6 defensemen), one of those stiffs is on the ice at all times for the Bruins. Therefore, the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Justin Williams line would get to feast on one of those guys every single shift. That’s a problem.
Even if the Bruins beat the Capitals because Marchand scored 10 goals in 7 games, Bergeron was the best skater on the ice, and Tuukka Rask stood on his head, the B’s would then face the Rangers or Penguins/Islanders in the Eastern Conference Semifinals — which would technically be the Metropolitan Division Finals thanks to the NHL’s weird structure. I would much rather have the Bruins face the Panthers than the Rangers, for example.
NYR has taken a huge step back in terms of corsi this season, but thy’re still a well coached team with an awesome goaltender, and they “know how to play in the playoffs” (cliche alert!). The Bruins-Rangers game tomorrow night may make me feel differently, but the Rangers will always worry me in the playoffs until further notice. Also, Roberto Luongo in Boston in the playoffs brings back good memories. Let’s just say that he has a much better chance of having a meltdown then Henrik Lundqvist.
Honestly, I couldn’t care much less about home ice for the Bruins. They’re a much better road team this season, anyway. If they have to go to Tampa Bay and then Florida in the first 2 rounds, that’s fine by me. So long as they don’t have to face the Capitals in the 1st round. The final 9 games of the season are imperative simply so that they avoid such a fate.
Here are the Bruins’ and Red Wings’ schedules. That April 7th game is appointment television in both cities.