Boston Bruins: First Round Schedule Actually Offers Some Advantage

Boston Bruins (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
Boston Bruins (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /

The Boston Bruins lost all advantage of finishing top in the regular season, but the schedule for the first round has actually proven favorable to them.

Starting Tuesday August 11, the Boston Bruins will face-off with the Carolina Hurricanes in a traditional first round best-of-7 series, albeit one taking place at Scotiabank Arena, Toronto and not the PNC Arena or TD Garden.

The advantage for the Boston Bruins lies in the time of day that their fixtures are scheduled to occur.

Unlike the round-robin fixture against the Capitals that was shunted to a matinee game when the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets went to a Game 5, these ones are unlikely to be rearranged.

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All but one of the first four fixtures against the Hurricanes will have 8PM (Eastern Time) puck-drops. Much closer to the norm for the Bruins, meaning they can follow, as much as possible in the bubble, their usual game-day routines.

Despite the Boston Bruins now being the fourth seed, they face just one non-8PM start, at noon on Saturday August 15.

By comparison, now top-seeded Philadelphia gets two 8PM starts and two 3PM starts versus Montreal, Tampa faces three 3PM starts with just the one 7:30 start versus Columbus and the Islanders and Washington have two 8PM games but also a noon one and a 3PM one.

As much as this simply sounds like the NHL realizing that the Boston Bruins are in all fairness the most marketable, it also plays directly into our players’ hands. Even the ice surface is likely to be slightly better as the humidity of the day is likely to have less impact.

Perhaps in fact this is the one part of the ‘Return To Play’ plan that the league didn’t fully think through. Despite now being fourth-seeded, the Bruins have a valuable advantage.

However, when you look at the series that is left on the table now because of the round-robin, you’d have to imagine the NHL are kicking themselves – they could’ve had Boston versus Montreal in the first round!

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Anyhow ignoring that, if we can spin this advantage into victories over the Carolina Hurricanes, we’ll be laughing. If not, we have very few excuses as to why we failed to progress.