BOSTON, MA – APRIL 4: The Boston Bruins celebrate a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Garden on April 4, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)


By Spencer Lindsay                    Follow me on Twitter @suspenceful9

Last night, the Bruins crushed the Tampa Bay Lightning. Not only on the scoreboard, but they also made it near impossible for the Lightning to qualify for the postseason. For fans of other teams in the Eastern Conference, this should be a relief. We’ve seen Tampa Bay in the playoffs the last few years, and we know what they can do.

Not only did the Bruins knock off a legitimate playoff threat, but they also won their sixth game in a row, and perhaps most importantly, qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Something they had not done in the last two seasons. The regular season is not over yet though. The Bruins still have two very winnable games at home to close out the remainder of the 2016-17 season.

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On Thursday the Senators roll into town coming off a home and home with Detroit where they picked up three of a possible four points. Don’t let those results fool you though, this team is hurting and should be easy pickings for a Bruins team that is really feeling it right now. Ottawa is missing two of their top four defenders in Cody Ceci and Mark Methot. Ceci suffered a lower body injury during a 4-2 loss vs. the Winnipeg Jets, and Methot nearly had his finger chopped off by Sidney Crosby. Who incidentally did not receive a penalty on the play, or a phone call from the league. But that’s none of my business. The point is, Ottawa is hurt, the Bruins need to take advantage.

If the Bruins beat Ottawa that will give them 96 points on the season with one game left, and leave Ottawa with 94 points with 2 games left. Those two games being back to back against the Rangers and the Islanders, where I find it hard to believe that Ottawa will win one or both, putting the Bruins in a good position to take at least the third division spot.

That is assuming the Bruins take care of business against the Washington Capitals, which I think is completely possible. Not only will this game mean practically nothing to Washington as they will most likely clinch the president’s trophy in the next couple days (Pittsburg’s tragic number is down to 1), but Washington will also likely be resting some of their star players, in preparation for the playoffs.

So why stop at six? You have an injured Senators team and a Capitals team that’s probably not going to care about the game on Saturday. The Bruins absolutely need to take advantage of that fact. Especially when you think of standings. If the Bruins were to beat Ottawa Thursday, that would mean that the maximum amount of points Ottawa can finish the season with is 98. If both Ottawa and Boston finish with 98 points that guarantee Boston at least the third division spot and avoids a first round date with the Washington Capitals. So while the Bruins may have clinched a spot, the work is not completely done yet, they need to finish strong. And hey, eight wins in a row heading into the playoffs has a nice ring to it anyway, right?

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