After avenging some recent tough losses last night, winning is a must going forward for the Boston Bruins.
Winning is always important, but for the Boston Bruins especially, they need every point they can get going forward. A 2-1 win over the New York Islanders was huge last night. Not only because of the fact that they are in the Eastern Conference, but because they were tied with the Bruins at 82 points heading into last night’s game. The regulation win put the Bruins two points ahead of the Islanders. This was a victory in which backup goaltender Anton Khudobin and forward Riley Nash stepped up in a big way. Two rather unlikely heroes came through when they were needed most.
The Eastern Conference has been very competitive for much of the 2016-2017 season. One team that is starting to gain more attention in this race is the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes are 7-0-3 in their last 10 games and are slowly emerging as another challenge to the Bruins for a playoff spot. They have 79 points and two games in hand on the Bruins. Including the Toronto Maple Leafs at 85 points (third in the Atlantic Division), there are five teams within the 79-85 point range that are trying to get into the playoffs. All of these teams have a game in hand, or two on the Bruins. The Bruins currently have 84 points and hold the second wild card position. The other team in the mix, out of the five, is the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning currently have 81 points and a game in hand.
Schedule for the week ahead
The playoff race in the East will change before the next time the Bruins play on Tuesday, Mar. 28 against the Nashville Predators at home. Other than that, the Dallas Stars come to Boston two days later. The week comes to a close with a third home game against the Florida Panthers on Saturday, and a tough road test against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. A light travel week could prove beneficial for the team.
A schedule with different pace for the week ahead could definitely help the Bruins. The recent structure of their schedule, as well as their opponents, have proven to be difficult at times. The road back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs continues for the Boston Bruins.