(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)
By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael
“And now, the end is near… And so I face the final curtain…”
Well, here’s hoping the end of March and the beginning of April for the Bruins resembles the exact opposite of the Frank Sinatra lyrics above. Because after what we all expect to be a season of successes over setbacks from the Black N’ Gold, this time of year should be yielding “a case… of which I’m certain!”
And that certainty is making the playoffs… and perhaps even winning the division for the B’s. Of course, the team will need to have followed suit (and jersey) over the past six months–and six parts of our epic Mark You Bruins Calendar series. But, based on the team’s 2019-2020 NHL calendar, that’ll be no easy task. Yet, for the remaining few games of the season that fortuitously line up in lineup favor for the Bruins, I’m more than confident of a winning and celebratory sendoff to capstone the B’s regular season.
March 31st & April 4th: A “Whale” Of A Series
Boston will end the month of March on the road in Carolina (aka Hartford South) playing a game that could have as much meaning as any ECF contest from yesteryear. Sure, I’m exaggerating the stakes but no one will look back defiantly if Game #80 on the season for the B’s in 2020 affords them a two-point boost in a playoff race that undoubtedly will be closer than a Bruins-Whalers alumni golf outing in Peabody.
And with the ‘Canes expected to be a playoff-contender yet again (after all, they did make it to the round before the Stanley Cup Final last season), this game could have even higher stakes for them than the B’s. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a back-and-forth tilt with both teams trading chances & goals all throughout. That’s end-of-the-season entertainment for ya!
Speaking of literally the season’s end, Carolina will then travel to Boston to close things out on April 4th at TD Garden. So, this kinda-sorta “home-and-home” series (sandwiched around a very high profile match-up I’ll be marking on the B’s calendar below) has the potential to be HUGE — in terms of points, in terms of divisional standings, in terms of playoff seeding and in terms of modern-day rematch rivalries that instantly form after two teams collide in the later rounds of hockey’s second season.
When you factor in the geographic history of the two franchises as well (and the fact Carolina likes to rock their retro Hartford Whalers look when they play the B’s), the end result is spirited & memorable play that could be as chippy & chirpy as it is entertaining & enjoyable — all things the fans will love to end what we expect to be another successful year for the Black N’ Gold.
Thursday, April 2nd: “Blues Clues”
The Bruins owe the city, their fans and themselves a barn-busting “W” over the St. Louis Blues, especially after what they put us through in the Stanley Cup Finals this past Summer (I may never get over that Game 7 as long as I live, to be perfectly honest… it’ll linger much longer than the losses in ’88, ’90 & ’13, that’s a guarantee). So, in the penultimate game of the regular season — that’s Game #81 for those keeping calendar track at home — why not give us what we all want, and perhaps even take out some frustration that’s been boiling over since June in the process.
Many hockey scribes are predicting the Blues to be back in the Finals again this season, defending their Cup with an equal chance to win it ala the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 & 2017. And we all know the B’s want another shot at Lord Stanley’s coveted chalice so maybe they should treat this game as a preview or measuring stick.
Either way, it’ll be as “must see” of a game as you’ll find on the docket in early 2020, one the B’s hope to take advantage of and use a momentum builder and solid reminder that they can be as good, if not better, than last season’s spirited bunch. If that can be accomplished, even with a few ups-and-downs along the Causeway byway, then we’ll all be glad the B’s “did it My Way” in ’19-’20!
Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.
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