By: Joey Partridge | Follow Me On Twitter @joey_partridge
It feels like yesterday we at BNG were writing about the start of the 2021 NHL season and what to expect from the new-look Boston Bruins. Well, it is now April turning to May, and the NHL Playoffs are approaching fast. The Bruins currently sit in the final spot in the MassMutual East Division, being four points ahead of the New York Rangers with two games in hand. So, that begs the question, what needs to happen for the Boston Bruins to clinch a postseason spot officially?
While the Bruins look to be in a decent spot, their remaining games are of utmost importance as home-ice advantage and matchups have yet to be determined. Starting from the bottom, the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils have been eliminated from postseason contention. Next up are the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers. I like to think of it in terms of a magic number. That is the number the Bruins need to eliminate said team. Allow me to explain.
The magic number is composed of Boston Bruins wins and opponents’ losses. For example, the Bruins magic number to clinch a playoff spot is four. This means that with four Boston Bruins wins OR New York Rangers losses, the Bruins will clinch a playoff berth. The Bruins took care of the Pittsburgh Penguins last night and the Rangers also beat the Buffalo Sabres. Hypothetically, let’s say both the Bruins win and the Rangers lose; the magic number would move down to two.
Looking ahead, the Bruins will see the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, and New York Rangers twice while playing the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals once to close out the season. The Bruins look to be in the clear to clinch a postseason berth, but believe it or not; the Bruins are still in the running for the division title. The Bruins have games in hand on every team above them and play them all at least one more time, minus Pittsburgh.
On the New York Rangers side of things, they play the New York Islanders, Washington Capitals, and Boston Bruins twice to close out their season. Comparing the schedules, the Rangers have a much tougher finish to the season than the Bruins do, but they have played great hockey as of late. Keep in mind, they can actually help the Bruins, too, by beating the Islanders and Capitals, and if the Bruins take care of their own business, they can climb the standings and potentially earn home ice in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Bruins have dropped two straight games, one against the Buffalo Sabres and the other against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but since the deadline, they have been playing their best hockey of the season. Hopefully, the Bruins will be getting Brandon Carlo back soon to bolster that blue line, and the third line can figure out their slump to produce some offense, specifically Jake Debrusk and Charlie Coyle. Get ready, Bruins fans; it could be time for a little run here.