The Boston Bruins still sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, and regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game, will remain there.
Anyone who told you they believed the Boston Bruins would be first in the Atlantic Division this late in the season is either (a) lying to you, or (b) me. Yep, that’s right. Yours truly predicted the Bruins would win the Division with 106 points. So, here I stand, proud that I predicted the Bruins would do well this season, but in complete shock that the team is even better than I thought.
The only team than can knock the Bruins off the top spot in the Conference is the Tampa Bay Lightning, who they face tonight. Tonight’s game marks the second battle between the teams in the last week. The last game ended in a 4-2 victory for the Black and Gold.
The game was incredibly chippy, as both teams see the end of the season drawing near, and the #1 seed being the difference between a 1st round matchup with a wild card team, or the 3rd seeded Toronto Maple Leafs. Expect tonight’s game to continue that type of play.
No Steven Stamkos for the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, after sustaining an injury in the last game. No direct update on Brandon Carlo, amid reports that he has a broken fibula. However, Charlie McAvoy and Zdeno Chara skated as a pair together in morning rushes today, so hopefully the defense can remain stable. No Tommy Wingels due to a minor hand injury, and Rick nash is skating. Tuukka Rask will battle against Andrei Vasilevskiy between the pipes.
Tonight’s game, while important in the long run, will have zero impact on the teams’ overall standings as of Wednesday morning. The Bruins have a 2 point lead on Tampa Bay, with a game in hand. A regulation win by the Bruins extends that to 4 points with a game in hand. Bruins win in OT or a shootout increases it to 3 points. A Lightning regulation win ties the teams in points, but the Bruins will stay in 1st due to points percentage. A Lightning OT or shootout win reduces the Bruins lead to 1 point. No matter what, the Bruins stay in 1st after tonight’s game.
You can find tonight’s game at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, FL on NESN Plus at 7:30 pm, as the Boston Red Sox season has started and they apparently take precedence on NESN. This despite the fact they’re in the infancy of their 162 game season, and the Bruins are winding down before the playoffs.