Causeway gameday! Boston Bruins have eyes on the Isles

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 25: Zdeno Chara
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 25: Zdeno Chara /

Coming off arguably the best offensive output of the season, the Boston Bruins play host to the high scoring New York Islanders.

The Boston Bruins are finally playing like the team I thought they could be this season.  As injured players continue to return in droves, the team chemistry is reaching the point of success.  And with chemistry, comes offensive output.

The Bruins offense exploded for 6 goals against the basement dwelling Arizona Coyotes in a 6-1 victory on Thursday night.  The game saw the first two goals of the season for David Backes, a veteran leader who the team clearly missed while he was out.  And both goals were typical Backes goals.  A tip-in while being a net-front presence, and a steal on the forecheck with a nice bury.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – DECEMBER 7: Luke Schenn /

If Backes can regain the offensive form that justified his deal in Boston, and the team can remain healthy and get back players like Ryan Spooner and Adam McQuaid, a playoff spot in the weaker Atlantic Division is pretty realistic to expect at this point.

What the heck is with the Metropolitan Division?!?!  If the playoffs started today, five Metro teams would be in the playoffs (Columbus – 37 pts, Washington – 37 pts, New Jersey – 36 pts, NYI – 35 pts, Pittsburgh – 35 pts).  The New York Rangers are on the outside looking in with 32 points, which would actually make them 3rd in the Atlantic, just ahead of the Bruins.  Talk about a tight division.

But tonight, the Bruins must focus on only one of those teams, and that is the New York Islanders.  John Tavares, the prize free agent of the 2018 class come July 1, 2018, and his linemates Josh Bailey and Anders Lee, comprise one of the most dominant lines in the NHL.  Plus, rookie Mathew Barzal is making a convincing case for the Calder Trophy.  Hell, watch this:

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The game tonight is at the TD Garden in Boston, MA, take places place at 7:00 pm.  The game will be on NESN, and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

What to watch for

It was an optional skate in Boston this morning for the Bruins.  After a maintenance day yesterday, Tuukka Rask was on the ice this morning.  No goalie had been announced as of writing, so the starting goalie tonight could either be Rask or Anton Khudobin.  Rask is once again proving himself to be a dependable starter, and Khudobin was less-than-stellar in his last start.

The line of Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak is making magic on the ice right now.  Marchand scored 15 second into the last game after some tic-tac-toe passing in a perfectly set triangle.  It will be interesting to see if Cassidy continues to roll this line together, or breaks it up to spread the offensive wealth.

Next: Possible 2018 Free Agents for the Bruins

These next few games are going to be essentially auditions for the bottom-six forwards on the team.  When Ryan Spooner comes off IR, one of them is going to start sitting, or be sent back to Providence, since the team can’t send back Frank Vatrano without exposing him to waivers.  Danton Heinen and Sean Kuraly are the only two bottom-six guys who are waivers exempt.  Heinen has played so well, so I would think Kuraly has to be the odd-man out.