For the Boston Bruins and all the other teams around the NHL, the regular season is officially coming to an end, with Sunday, May 1st being the last day of games. This means they have three games remaining for the Bruins as they look to jump back into the third spot in the Atlantic Division. Over Boston’s last ten games, they have posted a 5-5 record as they have maintained the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, holding off the Washington Capitals.
As things sit right now, the Bruins are three points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for the third spot in the Atlantic and have a chance to take it if the remainder shakes out in the Bruins’ favor. It will be a challenging last three games as two of the matchups are against playoff teams from the Atlantic.
With all three remaining games being must-win, this game will test Boston as the Eastern Conference leading Panthers will not go down easily. The first matchup will be tomorrow night as the Bruins will host the Florida Panthers at the TD Garden. The Bruins will look to have David Pastrnak and Hampus Lindholm back for this matchup after their return on Saturday before taking the second half of a back-to-back off on Sunday against the Habs. For the Bruins, they may get a break as Florida has clinched the number one seed in the Conference with their league-leading 120 points and may look to rest key players ahead of a playoff run.
The Bruins get some good news as they match up on Thursday, April 28th, with the Buffalo Sabers. The Bruins are 3-0-0 on the season against Buffalo as they look to go for the season sweep. With this being their second to last game before the playoffs, the Bruins need to build momentum and secure the win if they want to catch Tampa and look playoff-ready with all the kinks worked, especially around their power play.
The final matchup of the regular season will take place in Toronto on Friday, April 29th, as the Bruins travel north of the border to play a potential first-round opponent on the second leg of a back-to-back. The Maple Leafs got the best of Boston all season as the Bruins are 0-2-0 heading into the final matchup. Boston will meet up with Toronto if the Bruins can pull out dethroning Tampa, where they have had the Leafs’ number for years as they are Toronto’s playoff kryptonite, especially in the first round.
Lightning’s Remaining Schedule
The Tampa Bay Lightning has a much easier road to keep the third spot in the Atlantic as their last three matchups are all against non-playoff teams. The Lighting will play the Columbus Blue Jackets twice, once at home and one on the road, before wrapping their season up in New York on the road as they take on the New York Islanders. The Lightning plays the same nights as the Bruins, so fans will know where the B’s stand and if there is a legitimate chance to pull it off.
For the Bruins to successfully dethrone the Lightning, they will need to either tie them and have the better ROW, which is the first tiebreaker, or the same ROW, which will go to the season series record for the second tiebreaker, which the Bruins won. The other option is for the Bruins to win out and hope the Lightning lose at least two of their last three games to best them by points.
As of right now, the Bruins are set to face the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the playoffs when the 2021-2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs officially kick off. As long as the Bruins can stay healthy, they are poised to make some noise and show that they are ready to win it all again in what could be Patrice Bergeron’s final year in Boston.