The Stanley Cup playoffs are right around the corner. And while the Boston Bruins have punched their ticket to the postseason, they still have three games left to play as they try to lock up home-ice advantage for the first round.
Boston is coming off a 1-3-0 week, with its lone win coming in 6-3 fashion against the New York Rangers on March 27. The B’s closed out the month of March dropping their contest against the Detroit Red Wings, 6-3.
But they’ll look to put the rough week behind them and close out the 2018-19 regular season on a high note in a three-game week that includes games against the Minnesota Wild, Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning.
The final leg of the season begins Tuesday night in Columbus.
Let’s take a look at what’s on deck for the Bruins.
Tuesday, April 2 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, April 4 vs. Minnesota Wild, 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, April 6 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, 1 p.m. ET
What You Need To Know
The Lightning locked up first place in the NHL in mid-March, but the Wild’s chances of making a run at the Cup became much slimmer after their 4-0 loss against the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday. The Blue Jackets hold the Eastern Conference’s top spot in the Wild Card after winning five consecutive games, so the next week will be crucial for Columbus.
Who The Bruins Need To Watch Out For
Columbus and Boston will play its third and final game against each other, with both teams looking to win the season series. But the Blue Jackets are red-hot, winning their previous five games after losing three straight, including a 2-1 overtime loss to the Bruins. But with the playoffs on the line, Columbus will play hard and try to find the back of the net early and often — something they did in their March 12 meeting with the Black and Gold when the team scored three goals in the first period en route to a 7-4 victory.
Ryan Donato will be playing in his first game against his former team Thursday night. Donato was traded from Boston to Minnesota, and has put up great numbers for the Wild since then. But his mind likely will be on trying to get into the postseason, but they have to get through a tough Winnipeg Jets team before welcome the Black and Gold to Xcel Energy Center. The Wild will need to figure out how to come up with some offensive production heading into their final week, as the club has netted nine goals in their last seven games, and have been shutout twice during that stretch.
These two teams met back in January and Minnesota was on the losing end of the game, 4-0. The B’s had four different goal scorers on the night and will look to replicate the win come Wednesday.
The Bruins conclude their season in what could be a second-round playoff preview at TD Garden. It’s always a battle when these two teams take the ice. Boston is 1-2 against its division foe this season and looks to even the series. Despite each team having a playoff spot locked up, there should be no shortage of action, especially after March 25th’s thrilling 5-4 Lightning victory. Anthony Cirelli has been a pest for the Bruins this season, notching a goal in all three games between the two clubs.
But with the B’s (mostly) back to full-strength and Brad Marchand closing in on 100 points, you can count on them leaving everything on the ice before they begin their quest for Lord Stanley.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images