Five biggest games facing the Bruins down the stretch
By Joe Haggerty
With only 11 games remaining and running neck-and-neck with the Panthers and Lightning for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, the Bruins will be playing at their highest efficiency for the rest of the season. The Detroit Red Wings dropped out of a playoff spot for the first time in weeks on Wednesday night, and the Flyers are in the playoff picture for the first time pretty much all season.
So now there becomes a very real possibility that only the top three teams from the Atlantic Division will qualify for the postseason and first round opponents will be up in the air until the very last few days in the season. That means there will be important games for the Bruins through this final month, and it goes without saying there will be highs and lows along the way.
The Bruins just hope it doesn’t hold the same sour ending as last season, but that certainly doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this time around for a team that’s 5-1-2 in eight games since the NHL trade deadline. Here are the five biggest games remaining for the Bruins on a tremendously difficult docket of games:
5) Thursday, April 7 vs. Detroit Red Wings
Given the desperation in Detroit’s situation and the shifting sands of pole position within the Atlantic Division, this could be a nasty contest against competitors like Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk playing like cornered animals. Undoubtedly, Claude Julien would love to take a page out of Paul Holmgren’s book and lock speedy, skilled rookie Dylan Larkin in a bathroom for a couple of hours while the game is going on. But that won’t be happening even with the home ice advantage in Boston. Ultimately this could be a bit of sweet payback for the Bruins after the Red Wings dropped six goals on them at Joe Louis Arena last month when Patrice Bergeron was missing from the Black and Gold lineup.