It’s here, what would have been the final week of the season had COVID not reared its ugly head, causing the Bruins to postpone games. In the next 8 days, the Boston Bruins will play 6 games, with the last game on the road against the Capitals. Of course, the final two head-to-head matchups against the Islanders and Capitals in the last two days will likely not have much consequence other than seeding, provided that the Bruins win the either or both of their games against the New Jersey Devils in Newark.
The Islanders clinched on Friday night so only one spot in the East is open, which the Bruins currently hold. However, they haven’t clinched yet since the New York Rangers are still within striking distance, technically. In the standings, the Bruins have two games in hand on them and six games left to play in the regular season. The Rags are in a different boat: they have four more games left, two against the Capitals starting tonight and two at the Bruins. If the Bruins win tonight, they should clinch regardless of what the Rags will do since they won’t have enough games to overcome. Hell, even a loser point for the Bruins should clinch. But, if the Bruins lose to the Devils and the Rangers win, the Rags are still within range of the Bruins pointwise. Again, the B’s are playing the Devils tonight and tomorrow night, a team they’ve had trouble with all season.
But this team is different since the trade deadline. So is the Devils team. The Bruins lost an oft-benched Anders Bjork and gained Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar, and Mike Reilly. The Devils were mostly sellers at the deadline, trading away Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac, and Dmitry Kulikov; terminating the contract of Nikita Gusev; and placing impending UFA Sami Vatanen on waivers, where he was claimed by the Dallas Stars. The lone acquisition was defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler. But, Lindy Ruff will still be employing his neutral zone defense and will play either of the wood goalies, Mackenzie Blackwood or Scott Wedgewood, both of whom have had success against the Bruins.
The Bruins do have another advantage: Brandon Carlo is expected to play either tonight or tomorrow night. Carlo has missed all but 23 games this season, first with a concussion sustained by a Tom Wilson boarding incident and the other when he injured an oblique two games after returning to the lineup.
#NHLBruins updates per Bruce Cassidy:
Kevan Miller and Brandon Carlo will "each play a game and it won't be the same night" during the back to back in NJ.
Tuukka Rask starts tomorrow. Jeremy Swayman likely to go on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/7KJDepuxDU
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 2, 2021
As stated in the tweet above, Kevan Miller will not play both games of the back-to-back for knee management reasons. He and Carlo will “swap” a game. This is good news.
Also, since it’s Monday, I figured I would share this sweet tweet from over the weekend. When they showed this on NESN, I squealed at the TV (and to IW), “I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!”
— NESN (@NESN) May 1, 2021