Boston Bruins Prepare For Tough Division Matchups as Playoffs Loom
The Boston Bruins are fighting for their playoff lives. While their current odds to make the playoffs look promising, they still need to earn every point possible. The Bruins have controlled their own destiny in the past at this stage of the season and squandered it away. This time, things need to be different. This time, things should be different.
The Bruins hold the second spot in the Atlantic Division heading into Monday’s tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They hold a four-point lead in the standings on those same Maple Leafs, though Toronto has two games-in-hand on the Bruins. This season, the Bruins have struggled mightily against the Maple Leafs, dropping their first three matchups of the year. In fact, the Bruins have been outscored 14-7 in those games, including a pair of 4-1 losses and a 6-5 loss in their most recent matchup. The Bruins need to win their final game against the Maple Leafs before they take on the Senators on Tuesday.
The Bruins sit just three points back of the Senators in the standings, though like the Maple Leafs, the Senators hold two games-in-hand on the Bruins. Boston has yet to beat Ottawa this season, losing the first two meetings against Senators 3-1 and 4-2. While the Bruins have struggled at home over the last two seasons, they have started to find their stride in the TD Garden once again. This bodes well for the Bruins as their final two matchups against the Senators both come at home.
After the Bruins back-to-back set against their Ontario foes, they get one night off before hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins and Lightning have faced off three times this season, twice in Tampa Bay in once in Boston. In each game, the Bruins scored four goals and came away with the victory, ultimately holding a 12-7 goals edge over the Bolts. The final two games against the Lightning will both come in Boston and will hold significant playoff implications for both clubs.
For the Lightning, the season has seemingly turned around. After a rough start to the year, the Lightning are now winners of seven of their last 10. They haven’t had many issues scoring against Boston this season, which comes as no surprise as they are averaging 2.7 goals per game and are converting on 22 percent of their power play opportunities. The Bruins strong penalty kill will need to step up as the Lightning sit just one point out of a playoff spot and five points behind Boston in the standings.