The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens both have eight games left in the 2013 National Hockley League regular season and both teams are going to qualify for the playoffs. With their 5-1 win last night over the Buffalo Sabres, the Canadiens have officially clinched a playoff spot. The Bruins are one point, or one Jets loss away from doing the same.
The Canadiens win over the Sabres, combined with the Bruins 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders helped Montreal once again leap frog the Bruins into first place in the Northeast Division. The Habs now hold a one point lead in the Division, but with the way things are looking, it may be better for the Bruins if the Habs stay in first place.
The Eastern Conference standings are tight, and it looks like seeds six through eight will come down to the last couple of days of the season and be a battle between four teams. Taking a look at those four teams there is one team in particular that if I am a Bruins fan I don’t want to see in the opening round.
With the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference leading Pittsburgh Penguins a lock for the number one seed, and the Southeast Division winner pegged for third, it’s almost a guarantee that whoever wins the Northeast will secure the second seed and take on the East’s seventh seed when the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs kick off at the end of the month.
As of today, April 12, the Islanders are your current seventh seed in the East, but that’s not the team the Bruins and their fans should be worried about, it’s that other team from New York that the Bruins want to avoid in the opening round, it’s the New York Rangers that would present a problem for the Black and Gold.
The Bruins have struggled with the Rangers this season as Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers have won two of the three games against the Bruins this season, albeit neither Rangers win has come in regulation.
It’s no secret the Rangers have struggled this season as they continue to hold on for dear life as the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed, but regardless the Rangers are a dangerous team and a team no one wants to see in the first round of the playoffs as an eight seed, except for maybe the Canadiens.
The biggest concern I have with the Bruins hosting the Rangers in the playoffs is focused around King Henrik—not sure how you can be a king without a crown—and the Bruins struggles to put the puck in the net.
Lundqvist has a career 1.67 goals-against average against the Bruins, and has shutout the B’s six times in 30 games.
Whichever one of the two historic rivals lose out on the race for the Northeast Division title most likely will finish the year as the East’s fourth seed and most likely would set up an opening round matchup with Phil Kessel and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Talk about excitement.
The Bruins have won three of four against the Leafs this year, and have totally dominated their Northeast Division rivals since sending Kessel to the Leafs in 2009.
|Team||vs. Rangers||vs. Maple Leafs|
|BOS Games Remaining vs.||0||0|
|MON Games Remaining vs.||0||2|
As you can see from the chart, both the Bruins and Canadiens may be better off with the Habs winning the Northeast Division, that is if of course the Rangers move to the seventh seed.