As the season draws to a close, and as they continually fight for playoff security, the remaining games for the Boston Bruins have an elevated sense of importance. It would be nice to go into the playoffs on a high note. At the same time, if the Bruins struggle at all, there is little time to get back on track. Based on the pay of the Bruins their last two games, it looks like they have worked out their kinks and are now full steam ahead.
But they haven’t clinched anything yet.
So here is a look at a few games that you should not miss. Mark them on your calendar now.
- March 22nd at the San Jose Sharks: It’s always interesting when the Bruins re-acquaint themselves with Joe Thornton. The fact that the Bruins won the Stanley Cup last year while Jumbo Joe and the Sharks continue to underachieve has taken a little of the edge off the game. But the fact that the Sharks are currently in 10th place in the Western Conference, two points out of 8th, adds a new twist. It should be entertaining, as the Bruins look to start their three game west coast trip on the right track.
- March 27th vs the Tampa Bay Lightning: Yes, Tampa is far from a playoff spot at this point, and although they are not mathematically eliminated from contention yet, they might as well be. But the last time these two teams met, the Bruins got dismantled 6-1, and the B’s probably want some payback. It is also their first home game after the west coast trip so it will be interesting to see if there is any sand in their skates.
- April 1st at the New York Rangers: It is fair to say that the Rangers have had the Bruins number this season. The Bruins have yet to defeat the Rangers and have attained just one point out of a possible six. A win on Madison Square Garden ice will give the B’s confidence that they can beat the Blueshirts, as they might meet up in the later rounds of the playoffs.
- April 5th at the Ottawa Senators: This game might be meaningless to the Bruins, or it could be the most important game of the season. If the Bruins have already clinched the division by this point, look for them to rest some players (namely Tim Thomas), but if the Senators are still within reach of the Bruins, the divisional lead, a top three seed and home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs are all on the line.
Some other games might be important to the Bruins’ opponents as well, but hold lesser value to the B’s. These games include home games against the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres (3/29 and 4/7, respectively). Both teams are currently battling to qualify for the playoffs. In addition, with the return of Sidney Crosby, the April 3rd game against the Pittsburgh Penguins looks like a good one and no team is hotter than the Pens right now.
Injured forward Rich Peverley has also made the trip out west, so look for him to possibly start in one of those three games. It will be interesting to see the lineup changes moving forward with his return.
The Bruins are going to be in a battle every night, as playoff-like intensity games will be abundant. But that’s just what the Bruins will need going into the playoffs.