The Boston Bruins won the Presidents' Trophy after leading the NHL in points during the shortened regular season, but they still need to win a few more games to earn the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The top four teams in each conference, as part of the league's return to play plan, will compete in a round robin format to determine their seeds for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Boston Bruins will play the Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals once each.
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Oddsmakers like Boston's chances of finishing as the top team after these three games. Here are the latest betting odds for which team will earn the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed for the playoffs, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Boston Bruins: +140
Tampa Bay Lightning: +185
Philadelphia Flyers: +550
Washington Capitals: +550
The Bruins had a combined 3-3-4 record against the Lightning, Flyers and Capitals during the regular season. The final game on Sunday, Aug. 9 versus the Capitals could be a pivotal one. The Bruins have not fared well against the Capitals in recent years. They're 2-2 against the Caps in the last four meetings, but Boston also has won only two of its previous 18games versus Washington dating back to 2014.
Even though all of the Eastern Conference playoff games will be played in the Toronto bubble (and the Stanley Cup Final in the Edmonton bubble), earning the No. 1 seed remains an important goal. Home ice advantage is not as prized as it would normally be -- although, having last change is still valuable -- but having a top seed should lead to a more favorable path to the Stanley Cup Final because each round in the playoffs will feature re-seeding instead of a bracket format.
So, if the Bruins emerge from the round robin as the top seed, they will play the lowest-seeded team in each playoff round. This would help the B's in their quest to return to the Stanley Cup Final for a second consecutive season.