By the end of the night, the playoff picture could look different. In a way, it’s silly to keep track of this as it’s changing day by day. But when the Bruins were so far behind the top three teams in the Atlantic, Florida, Tampa Bay, and Toronto, that they didn’t have hopes to catch up and now they have.
The top 4 teams in the Flortheast have played the same number of games, 65, so it is down to the final 17 games to determine playoff seeding. Second and third place are in play; Florida is so far ahead that unless they go on a big slide, no one will catch up with them.
I think the three important things to remember are: Tampa looks vulnerable, Toronto needs 5 goals to win due to their defensive and goalie deficits, and the Bruins are better after the trade for Hampus Lindholm. I’m not just saying that because I have fallen hard for him, it is the truth. While he puts up some stellar stats with Charlie McAvoy, similar to the Grzelcyk-McAvoy combo in the past, his shoring up the top LD allows Grizz to go down in the lineup to allow him to use his puck moving ability alongside Brandon Carlo. The Bruins defense was good and stingy and will remain so, maybe getting even better. Only 3 teams in the NHL have allowed fewer goals than the Bruins’ 174: Hurricanes (157), Flames (160), and the Rangers (172).
Tonight, the B’s take on one of those division opponents for the penultimate time. Toronto sits in 3rd place, tied with the Bruins for points and only winning on a tiebreak of regulation wins. The two teams records are identical otherwise, 41-19-5. The B’s are riding a 4 game win streak while Toronto has a 1 game win streak against division leader Florida.
Tonight should be a fun tilt between these two teams.