Clinching a playoff spot in any sport is a great accomplishment after a tough grueling season especially in hockey. NHL Guys are crawling into the playoffs with injuries that would bench most MLB athletes (take Bergeron’s punctured lung in 2013 for example) yet they are still playing balls to the wall. This Bruins team has been taking their fans through a roller coaster ride of emotions all year. They definitely had their fair share of games where they looked like a competitive maybe even champion caliber team, especially later in the season exactly what you want to see. In turn, they of course had their moments when you thought you were watching a bunch of peewees especially during the fall of the Claude Julien Empire in February. Last Night The Bruins clinched with a 4-0 win against Tampa Bay. One big downfall of that game was Brad Marchand, who received a five-minute spearing major and a game misconduct for spearing the nuts of Tampa Bay defenseman Jake Dotchin. This was an immature play by Marchy during a must win game, luckily his team managed to win. He will meet with the league tomorrow let’s pray no suspension and just a decent fine so Dotchin can get his coin purse patched back together.
Now as fans we can appreciate the fact they are able to make the playoffs given those circumstances and we can all now take a deep sigh of relief (somewhat). During this sigh we look to evaluate the playoff picture and see maybe where the Bruins would best match-up. The Bruins have two final games left of the regular season, these next two teams they play will both be possible playoff contenders; Ottawa on Thursday and Washington on Saturday. Therefore the playoffs for the Bruins are starting early. Just because they’re in the playoffs doesn’t mean their golden, they still may want to control their own fate and road to the cup. Let’s map this thing out and see why the Bruins may not want to take their foot off the gas just yet.
Bruins Land #2 Seed in Atlantic
This is one of their best options for a playoff picture by far. Yes the Ottawa Senators are a scary team especially at home, so if the Bruins win this final home game against them this can really set the tempo/edge heading into the playoffs. They can prove not only to Ottawa but the rest of the league they are a force to be reckoned with. Bruins are 0-3 against the Sens this season. If somehow The Sens lose their next three and the Leafs were to catch up to a 3rd seed I might be worried about a hot Toronto team that we are 0-4 against this year, especially if they beat Columbus and Pittsburgh to wrap up the season. We can cross that bridge to Canada when it comes I’m not too worried about it just yet. Here’s a little reminder of why I’m not worried…
Bruins Land #3 Seed in Atlantic
Not the most favorable position to be in but this may be the likely outcome if we lose the next two games or split them. As long as Toronto stays in that #4 Atlantic wild card seed which also seems likely because they have those 3 tough games left against Tampa, Pittsburgh and Columbus. We’d play Ottawa and lose home ice advantage and that would well suck. Hopefully we show them on Thursday we are a new team that can beat them at home once and for all.
Bruins Hit Rock Bottom and land wild card #4 seed
Getting into the playoffs as a wild card seed can pay-off for a team but it’s like a last breath kind of scenario. I compare it to getting into a party only because you have a hot sister so you are pretty much invited anyway but if it wasn’t for her no shot you get in that party. The Bruins would play the Metropolitan 1st place seed Capitals. This is not the most desirable position of course, as they’d basically forfeit their home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. Bruins met the Capitals in 2012 and lost after game 7, it was a tough fought series and I’d expect that again this year. Bruins lost 5-3 to the Caps in Washington back in February before Cassidy took the reign. I think this last regular season matchup between the teams will show what kind of series we would see if this scenario were to play out.