With March coming to an end, we have seen the NHL trade deadline come and go as regular-season games dwindle. The standings are beginning to take shape, determining which eight teams from each conference will make a Stanley Cup playoff berth. The Bruins, who sit at 83 Points, have 19 games remaining on the season to help their case and positioning as they look to move away from the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and into one of the top three spots in the Atlantic Division.
The Florida Panthers hold the Atlantic division with 90 points, the Toronto Maple Leafs with 85 points, and the Tampa Bay Lightning with 84 points. The separation between these four teams has come a long way since the start of 2022, as the Bruins have been on a hot streak putting them back into the conversation of securing a division spot. It is important to note that Tampa Bay and Florida have a game in hand over Boston and Toronto, giving them that slight advantage for now. The Bruins gear up for a crucial game tonight at home in Boston as they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning looking to leapfrog them for now.
Bruins Look to Take Third Spot in the Atlantic Tonight
Over 19 games, anything can happen, but with the new defensive additions of Hampus Lindholm and Josh Brown paired with the return of Captain and number one center Patrice Bergeron set to make his return from injured reserve tonight. The Bruins have to be hopeful they can continue their hot streak with the new look they have assembled and match the top teams in this division who also didn’t just sit pat at the deadline and got better. Tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning is the first step in regaining that control in the Atlantic Division as a win would propel the Bruins to 85 points. This would put the Bruins up one point over Tampa and tie us at 85 points with Toronto, who won their last matchup last night over the New Jersey Devils. This division is currently anyone’s for the taking as the regular season wraps up; every game will matter going forward. The Boston Bruins will have to find ways to win their games against non-playoff teams but especially against the playoff teams if they want to be anything more than a wild card team in 2022.
A look at the Bruin’s Final 19 Games
To wrap up the month of March, the Bruins have four games remaining, with two against non-playoff teams in the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils. The other two will have playoff ramifications as they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, March 29th, at home in Boston. The last month of the season for Boston will be filled with plenty of challenges as their final 15 games in April consist of nine games against playoff teams and only six games against non-playoff teams. Of those playoff teams, the Bruins will lace the skates up against the Pittsburgh Penguins twice, the St. Louis Blues twice, and the Florida Panthers, Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Lightning, and the New York Rangers once. These are all must-win games, especially against Tampa Bay and Toronto, as every point against your division rival matters and can affect the outcome of your final seeding.
How Things Will Look at the End of the Regular Season
If it was my best guess, the Atlantic Division top three will consist of the Florida Panthers at number one, the Tampa Lightning at number two, and the Boston Bruins wrapping it up at number three with the Toronto Maple Leafs getting kicked to the wild card spot. The Toronto Maple Leaf’s question marks around their goaltending are too much to ignore as you never know what to expect from Jack Campbell and company. The Bruins have shown they have the skill to contend when healthy, and with the addition of Hampus Lindholm to the top pairing with Charlie McAvoy, the Bruins defense is more legitimate. With Jeremy Swayman playing at an elite level during his rookie season and Linus Ullmark holding his own, the goalie tandem has allowed this team to stay in games and win. The return of Patrice Bergeron at this turning point in the season is crucial as the Bruins have looked lost without him anchoring that top line. Brad Marchand has found his hot streak as he now has four goals in his last three games, and the third line of Trent Frederic, Charlie Coyle, and Craig Smith remains hot and a crucial part of the Bruin’s secondary scoring. If the Bruins can continue this level of play from these players and see David Pastrnak get going on the second line along with Taylor Hall, the Bruins will be a problem as they enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs and look to bring home their first Cup since 2011. The Bruins’ destiny is in their hands as they look to cement themselves as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division in 2022.