On December 24, 2021 your Boston Bruins were outside the playoff picture looking in and a whopping 14 points out of second place in the division. Exactly three months later to the day, they were tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the division. Today, they are 2 points back with 15 games remaining.
It’s all about playoff positioning now, trying to secure home ice advantage in round one and head into the playoffs while peaking. And of course, this leads to scoreboard watching. I admit, I am just as guilty of doing so as much as the next person.
So, let’s look at the remaining games for the Bruins, Toronto and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
|Vs Columbus||At Philadelphia||Vs Chicago|
|At Columbus||At Tampa||Vs Montreal|
|At Detroit||At Florida||Vs Toronto|
|At Tampa||At Dallas||At Washington|
|At Washington||Vs Montreal||Vs Boston|
|Vs St Louis||Vs Buffalo||Vs Buffalo|
|Vs Ottawa||Vs Washington||At Dallas|
|Vs Pittsburgh||At Ottawa||Vs Anaheim|
|At St Louis||Vs Islanders||Vs Winnipeg|
|At Pittsburgh||Vs Philadelphia||Vs Detroit|
|Vs Rangers||At Tampa||Vs Toronto|
|At Montreal||At Florida||Vs Nashville|
|Vs Florida||At Washington||At Florida|
|Vs Buffalo||Vs Detroit||Vs Columbus|
|At Toronto||Vs Boston||At Columbus|
Far be it from me to say who has the easier schedule. All three teams play on back-to-back nights 3 times the rest of the way. On the second night of back-to-backs, the Bruins are 4-3, the Lightning are 6-1 and the Leafs are 4-5.
Both Boston and Toronto play 8 of 15 remaining games on the road, Tampa just 5 of 16 games. Boston’s road record: 21-9-3, Toronto’s: 18-12-3 and Tampa’s: 22-12-2.
Both Boston and Toronto have 6 of 15 games against non-playoff teams, Tampa has 9 of 16 games against non-playoff teams.
Boston is done with the deadly back-to-back Florida trips although they play Florida (at home) and Tampa (on the road) once more. Toronto has to make that trip twice to the Sunshine State. Toronto and Tampa play each other twice more, and barring any 3-point games, that’s a bonus to the Bruins.
The next three games will be huge moving forward. Boston has Columbus (twice) and Detroit before they go head-to-head with Tampa. They can not leave any points on the table in those three games. Toronto is at Philadelphia before they make the Florida trip and they absolutely need to find a way to take at least 4 points out of those three games. Tampa is at home to Chicago and Montreal before they face the Leafs and they too can not leave points on the table against the Hawks and Habs. No 3-point game in that Toronto-Tampa matchup please!
Tie breakers are determined by the team with the most regulation wins. If they are still tied, the team with the most regelation and overtime wins comes out ahead. If still tied, the team with the most wins gets the higher seed. And if still tied, head-to-head matchups is used to break the tie.
Currently, the Leafs own the tie breaker over both the Bruins and Lightning. The Bruins hold the tie breaker over the Lightning. While 2 points is 2 points, the Bruin need four more regulation wins then the Leafs to take the tie breaker away from them, the Lightning would need 5.
The Bruins are 8-2-1 in their last 10, the Leafs are 6-3-1 and the Lightning are 5-5-0.
Here are the Bruins, Leafs and Lightning records versus the teams they have remaining on their schedule:
|Vs St Louis||0-0-0|
|At St Louis||0-0-0|
What does all this mean? Your guess is as good as mine because I have no clue how to interpret what any of it means when trying to predict the outcome.
All I know is I will be scoreboard watching.