Since losing the first two games out of the Olympic break, the Bruins are on fire and have shot to the top of the Eastern Conference, compiling their third longest winning streak in franchise history. Even with the streak ending in a shootout loss to the Canadiens on Monday, the Bruins have been playing incredible hockey over the past month, and their lead in the Atlantic Division seems insurmountable. The busy end of the regular season rolls on, however; here’s a look at the Bruins road ahead in the next two weeks. Next
Thursday, March 27: vs. Chicago
In the first rematch of the year of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, it took an extra five minutes and three shootouts rounds to decide a victor on January 19. Marian Hossa gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead early in the first period, but Brad Marchand scored twice in a game-span of 1:09 to put the Bruins up 2-1. Brandon Bollig tied the game later in the period, and both teams were held scoreless in the third period and overtime to set up the shootout. Jonathan Toews scored on the first chance for Chicago, but Marchand tied it up by beating Corey Crawford on the Bruins’ final chance in the shootout. Patrick Kane wasted no time in grabbing two points for the Blackhawks, scoring on Chicago’s next chance to win the game.
Chicago has fallen off pace in the Central Division, surrendering the division lead to the St. Louis Blues and are now locked into a battle with the Colorado Avalanche for the second spot in the division, as well as home-ice in the first round of the playoffs. By the time March 27 rolls around, the Blackhawks may be in serious need of some wins in order to make sure the first round of the playoffs has to go through the United Center. Next
Saturday, March 29: at Washington
The Capitals have been a mystery against the Bruins this season, either putting on a dominant offensive performance, or shutting down and going through the motions. While the former team showed up on March 1 at the Garden, the latter was the case in the two teams last matchup later that week on March 6, also in Boston. In that game, Tuukka Rask made 16 saves on 16 shots, while the Bruins offense generated 43 shots, with Gregory Campbell, Loui Eriksson, and Brad Marchand each putting one past Braden Holtby to get the 3-0 win.
Washington is currently on the outside looking in and in fifth place in the Metropolitan Division, but only a few points out of the No. 2 spot in the division. Problem is, there are several teams they need to leapfrog to get there, ones who are just as hungry for wins as the Capitals are. Washington will need to turn up the heat if they want to get back into the driver’s seat for playoff positioning going into the home stretch of the regular season. Next
Sunday, March 30: at Philadelphia
In the Bruins final game during the month of March, the B’s head to Philadelphia to take on a Flyers team that struggled out of the gate, even going so far as to fire head coach Peter Laviolette just four games into the season, but now find themselves right in the hunt for the playoffs in a relatively weak Metropolitan Division. The last time the Bruins played the Flyers was back on Jan. 25, when the Bruins went into the Wells Fargo Center and embarrassed the Flyers on their home ice, blasted Philadelphia 6-1. Zdeno Chara and Jarome Iginla each scored two goals, while Reilly Smith and Patrice Bergeron also found the back of the net for the Bruins, while Claude Giroux could manage the only Flyer goal of the game.
The Flyers are one of the hottest teams in the Metropolitan Division right now, and are in prime position to claim one of the division’s two automatic qualifying spots. That being said, there is a bit of a logjam of five teams looking to grab those two spots, and then everyone else has to battle with at least one other Atlantic Division foe for the Eastern Conference wild card positions. Philadelphia can’t stop and rest now. Next
Wednesday, April 2: at Detroit
After the Bruins two-day break following their back-to-back with the Capitals and Flyers, the B’s continue on the road for the first of another back-to-back in the middle of the week, first up against the Detroit Red Wings. The Bruins are 1-2 against the Red Wings this season, but haven’t played them since November. Their last game against Detroit came on Nov. 27, when the B’s were shellacked by the Red Wings 6-1. Tuukka Rask went the whole way, despite letting up six unanswered goals before the Bruins could tally one on the board. Jarome Iginla was credited with the Bruins only score of the game, as he scored with just 2:25 to play in the contest.
The Red Wings haven’t fared so well since then, and a rash of devastating injuries has put Detroit on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time in two decades. The Red Wings are a ways back of the Canadiens and Lightning for the two other automatic playoff positions in the Atlantic, so their best bet to make the postseason is to get in as a wild card team. Next
Thursday, April 3: at Toronto
After ending Wednesday night in Detroit, the Bruins fly to Toronto for a Thursday night matchup with the Maple Leafs, one that could have strong playoff implications for both sides. The Bruins are 2-1 against the Leafs this season, winning the first two meetings between the clubs by scores of 3-1 and 5-2. The Leafs got revenge in the last matchup, though, beating the Bruins at the TD Garden 4-3. James van Riemsdyk provided the winning goal for Toronto one minute into the third period, while Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Gregory Campbell scored for the Bruins in the loss.
While the Bruins have succeeded in the past month, the Leafs have fallen back, losing a string of games and are now well behind Montreal and Tampa Bay for one the Atlantic’s three automatic playoff spots. Like Detroit, their postseason hopes are riding on their ability to hold off a handful of teams from both Eastern Conference divisions and make the playoffs as a wild card. Back to the beginning
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