Boston Bruins: Potential advantage to be gained from exhibition fixture

Charlie McAvoy #73, Boston Bruins (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Charlie McAvoy #73, Boston Bruins (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

With the exhibition schedule having been released, it’s revealed a potential advantage for the Boston Bruins.

All going well, the Boston Bruins will likely face the Toronto Maple Leafs or Columbus Blue Jackets in their first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Lo and behold, the Bruins have been matched up with the Blue Jackets on the exhibition schedule, with the teams due to meet on July 30th ahead of the play-off season commencing.

Right now, obviously all teams are in training camp and bar a few late arriving players, everyone will be up to speed hopefully by then. The Boston Bruins advantage isn’t extra ice-time, but rather the fact they’ll get a close-up look at a potential future opponent.

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Looking at the other fixtures, no other team has such a clear-cut potential advantage; perhaps it’s actually a just reward for the Bruins’ President’s Trophy winning regular season.

Obviously there’s no guarantee that the Boston Bruins do end up facing the Blue Jackets in the playoffs, but in a season where there’s a distinct limit to the usual advantages, we’ll take even the smallest one.

With no home ice advantage, no crowds, not even the comfort of returning to their own houses for the duration of the post-season campaign, it’s fair to say this may be the toughest Stanley Cup Playoffs ever.

Even the two host cities, Edmonton and Toronto won’t have the luxury of allowing their players to return to their actual houses. The Maple Leafs and Oilers will too find themselves within the quarantine bubble that the NHL are creating.

It may only be one simple exhibition fixture, but it should allow the Bruins a chance to gauge exactly what sort of competitor they may come up against in their opening round.

The Blue Jackets proved to be no walkovers last time we faced them in the Stanley Cup Playoffs back in 2019, stretching us to six games; albeit with a cast that included the likes of Sergei Bobrovsky, Matt Duchene and Artemi Panarin.

With any luck we can take this fixture and draw some conclusions that prove invaluable should they prove to be our opening round opponent.

If they don’t make it and it’s the Toronto Maple Leafs instead; well, there’s a bit of history – we’ve faced them plenty of times over the past three seasons, both in the regular campaign and the post-season.

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All in all, even one measly exhibition fixture is big reason to get excited; hockey is almost back. Yes, it’s in late July and doesn’t feel quite right, but nothing about 2020 seems to feel quite right in general.