51°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Things are going down to the wire for the Boston Bruins

Bruce+Cassidy+of+the+Boston+Bruins.

Bruce Cassidy of the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins had the best possible outcome tonight as they have beaten the Buffalo Sabres, while the New York Rangers got blown out 40 by the New York Islanders. With the Rangers’ loss, the best possible finish they can have is 68 points. With the Bruins at 64 points with two games in hand over the Rangers and two games remaining against them, it would take a major collapse for the Bruins not to make the playoffs. Right now, it seems that the question is not whether or not the Bruins make the playoffs, but rather what seed they will be in come playoff time.
Right now, the gap between the first and fourth seed in the East division is just five points. With seven games remaining on the Bruins schedule, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility for them to slowly make a climb towards the top of the East division standings. I personally do not believe anyone will overtake the Washington Capitals for the top spot in the East because they are just that dominant. However, it is very likely that the B’s could overtake the Islanders for the third place spot in the division and maybe make a late push for the second place spot to secure home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Although the team will never admit it, I believe that the Bruins should be doing everything in their power to avoid the Washington Capitals in the first round. Even though the Bruins have played the Caps well this season, I think of the Capitals in the same way I think of the Tampa Bay Lightning: When it comes to the playoffs, those teams have another level of size and skill that the Bruins cannot match. Obviously, in this playoff format, you can’t avoid a team forever, so you have to hope that either the Islanders or Penguins take down the Caps if the Bruins hope to make another Stanley Cup run.
I guess you can say that I am getting ahead of myself talking about the playoffs with seven games still remaining in the regular season. So, let’s talk about what the Bruins need to do to ensure they have a spot in the playoffs. The Bruins only have to win three games to clinch a playoff spot, and that is only if the Rangers win their final five games. It just so happens that the next three games the Bruins play are against the two worst teams in the entire NHL. If the Bruins can just take care of business in these next three games, they won’t have to worry about the two games against the Rangers that follow those three games. 
There are undoubtedly exciting times ahead for the Bruins as the season is coming to a close. If they do secure a playoff spot with a few games to spare, I would not be surprised if the B’s start benching some of their key players for a game or two to ensure that they remain healthy for a playoff run.
With all the injuries the Bruins have had this season, I would also look for someone like Brandon Carlo to make a late season return to the lineup to get playoff ready. The return of Carlo could do wonders for a Bruins defensive core who has been banged up all season. The hope is that the B’s could finally be 100 percent healthy going into the playoffs.