It’s been a while since
the Boston Bruins were in a race to make the playoffs.
In the 2009-2010
season, the Bruins found themselves in a playoff race against several teams
like the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, and etc. The Bruins managed
to go 6-3-1 in the final 10 games of the season, squeezing in as the #6 seed
that year. They dug themselves a hole in January, going 2-10-4 for a stretch,
one of the worst stretches for any Claude Julien Bruins team.
The Bruins are now in
similar territory from 5 years ago, fighting to keep the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference. They've hit a couple of 10 game stretches that resulted in a 3-6-1 (December) and 2-6-2 (February), digging themselves a big hole. The standings sure does reflect that (as of 3/9/2015):
With Florida, Ottawa,
and Philadelphia (to an extent – they certainly didn’t do themselves any good
by losing 3 out of their last 4) chasing the Bruins, the next two weeks for the
Bruins will be crucial in creating some breathing room.
Here is a quick break
down of the Bruins schedule against some important opponents in the next couple
& March 19th – Both games @ Ottawa
Right now, the Senators
are the biggest threat to the Bruins. The Senators have a game in hand and are
down 5 points to the Bruins. Seems relatively harmless compared to Florida, but
these two upcoming games are what makes them a threat.
Senators are playing
great hockey and are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. They certainly are heating
up at the right time. The Bruins somehow need to win these two games against
Ottawa to keep them from getting any closer. These two are must-win games.
& March 23rd – vs. Tampa Bay and @ Tampa Bay, respectively
The Lightning are ahead
of the Bruins in the standings, so catching up to them seems pretty close to
impossible. But that’s not why these two games are important. The Lightning may
just end up being a 1st round match up for the Bruins, if they make
the playoffs. It’s important to set the tone against a team that you may face
again in the future, especially one you possibly might see for 7 games in the
playoffs. The two teams face off in the last game of the season as well.
Plus – who doesn’t want
to see Cedric Paquette vs. Zdeno Chara again?
March 15th -
The Bruins are chasing
the Capitals in the #7 seed race. Currently, the Bruins have two games in hand
and are down 6 points. If you do the math, the Bruins would be only down 2
points if they matched Washington in games. So what would a win against them in
this game do? Exactly, the Bruins would be tied for the 7th seed. Of
course, it’s naïve to think that the Bruins would win every game until they
face off against Washington, but you just never know.
March 21st- @ Florida
For obvious reasons.
Many of these games are
away, which presents an even bigger challenge for the Bruins. They need to
treat every game like it’s the playoffs, which will surely bring out some
exciting hockey. That’s great news for Bruins fans, as exciting hockey has been
missing for a good chunk of the year.
The next two weeks
should bring out the real identity of this team. How will they respond when they
are directly faced with a challenge? There aren’t too many games left in the
season and the Bruins realize that. They have been talking the talk most of the
season, saying all the right things. But time for talk is running out.
Now it’s time to walk
Read more from Andy Hwang by clicking here. Find him on Twitter on @andyhwang05 and follow @BruinsLife for all Bruins news and updates.