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Tonight’s games: Focus on Boston

There might be three games tonight, but there’s only one that really matters: Boston vs. Washington. That game has big implications for the Bruins, who still need to scratch-and-claw in order to make their way into the playoffs. Let’s take a look at that match and Monday’s other two games. Boston Bruins (36-30-12, 84 pts) at Washington Capitals (51-15-12, 114 pts) 7 PM ET

The Capitals haven’t just wrapped up the East’s No.1 seed, they’ve already clinched the Presidents’ Trophy. It doesn’t seem like the team is really stepping off the pedal all that much, which is bad news for Boston. It’s really mind blowing how far these teams are apart; the Caps have 30 more points this season and their leading scorer (Ovechkin, 102) has more than double Boston’s leading point getter (Bergeron, 50). Boston is going to have to win this one the way they’ve done it all season: by grinding out an ugly victory.

Columbus Blue Jackets (32-34-13, 77 pts) at St. Louis Blues (38-31-9, 85 pts) 8 PM ET

While the Blue Jackets are already mathematically eliminated, the Blues are still technically “alive.” Really, though, the Blues are on the verge of being in the same club. Is this a more realistic depiction of these two teams’ potential, or is this just a bump in the road for the two franchises?

Minnesota Wild (37-35-7, 81 pts) at Edmonton Oilers (24-46-8, 56 pts) 9:30 PM ET

The Oilers can be forgiven if they’re more interested in the Taylor Hall-Tyler Seguin battles than their own games right now. It must be oddly freeing, though, that the Oilers clinched the bottom spot in the league so there’s no question of tanking. With Minnesota, they might be better off losing out.