Bruins Need to Take Advantage of Upcoming Schedule

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 18: David Krejci #46 of the Boston Bruins skates up ice with the puck as Rasmus Ristolainen #55 of the Buffalo Sabres defends during the first period at KeyBank Center on March 18, 2021 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 18: David Krejci #46 of the Boston Bruins skates up ice with the puck as Rasmus Ristolainen #55 of the Buffalo Sabres defends during the first period at KeyBank Center on March 18, 2021 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images) /
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After losing 4-3 in overtime to the New York Islanders Thursday night at th TD Garden, the Boston Bruins will now turn their attention to the bottom two teams in the 2021 East Division. This afternoon, the Bruins will host the Buffalo Sabres in a Saturday matinee, before welcoming the New Jersey Devils for two games beginning late Sunday afternoon.

The Bruins are holding on to the last playoff spot in the division, three points ahead of the suddenly-surging New York Rangers and the struggle Philadelphia Flyers. Boston has 27 games remaining, the most of any team in the league, never mind the division. They have three games in hand on both the Rangers and Flyers.

Boston trails the New York Islanders by 11 points and the second-place Washington Capitals by 10. The third-place Pittsburgh Penguins lead the Black and Gold by seven points heading into action today. The Bruins need to take advantage of the schedule for the next three games at home to improve their spot in the standings.

Sabres and Devils give the Bruins an opportunity to collect some points.

The top of the division has feasted on the Sabres and Devils this season, while the Bruins have left a fair amount of points on the table, mainly against New Jersey.

Boston is 1-2-1 against the Devils, with the two regulation losses coming in the teams last two meetings at the TD Garden. In fact, the Bruins have yet to get the best of New Jersey in regulation with their win coming on Opening Night in a shootout.

Four points are available for the B’s in the two matchups with the Devils, Sunday and Tuesday, and getting three or four is an almost must as the schedule will get harder following the second game with NJ.

Buffalo comes to town with just six wins on the season in 32 games, but it is what has happened in the last month that has the Sabres on course to pick near the top of the Entry Draft in July.

The Sabres are 0-14-2 in their last 16 games and are a team that has zero confidence coming to Boston. They are also without the services of interim coach Don Granato, who was placed on the league COVID-19 protocols list before a 4-0 loss to the Penguins Thursday night. The Bruins are 0-2 this season in Saturday afternoon games and Buffalo is winless in their last 16. Something has to give today.

Before the Bruins were shut down for six days because of five players entering the league COVID-19 protocols list, they beat the Sabres, 4-1, in Western New York on March 18. As the NHL trade deadline approaches on April 12 at 3 p.m., Buffalo has some pieces that teams would be interested in acquiring for a playoff push.

The problem right now is that the possible trade chips the organization has, is not playing hard and increasing their trade value. If there is one thing to watch today, it’s how hard the Sabres are going to play, mainly their trade pieces, to increase their value to other clubs.

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The rest of the division has piled up the points with the Sabres and Devils. Boston has an opportunity over the next three games to do the same.