Well Ladies and Gentlemen, the Boston Bruins are back in the postseason. With a 4-0 beat down of the Tampa Bay Lightning last night at TD Garden, the B’s clinched their first playoff berth since 2013-14. The last time the Bruins played in a postseason game was a 3-1 Game 7 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in May of 2014.
Drew Stafford opened the scoring in the second period last night and it turned out to be the game-winning goal, David Pastrnak scored twice including an empty-netter and Zdeno Chara added a powerplay goal. Tuukka Rask made 28 saves for his eight shutout of the season, a career-high. Patrice Bergeron was an incredible 17 for 17 on face offs. The Bruins earned their 44th win of the season, giving them 94 points on the year with two games to play. The B’s take on the Ottawa Senators on Thursday and the Washington Capitals on Saturday both at TD Garden to close out the regular season.
The game however was slightly overshadowed by Brad Marchand’s spearing penalty late in the first period which earned him a game misconduct and a potential suspension. Marchand will have a hearing with the Department of Play Safety on Thursday morning. It was yet another example of Number 63 taking it over the line, and this may have been the worst example. The replay honestly speaks for itself and it shows that Marchand indeed hasn’t changed his game despite others believing he has.
The Bruins cannot afford to have him miss an extended period with the final two games holding a lot of importance. It was an incredibly selfish play and if it costs the Bruins at all in the next two games and potentially further, he’s gonna have a lot to answer for. I personally expect him to at least be suspended the final two games of the regular season and possibly a playoff game. There is no possible way to defend it and I think it’s crazy that some people are taking that stance.
As far as playoff positioning, the B’s currently sit in third in the Atlantic in a tie with Ottawa who has the tiebreaker with one fewer game played. Toronto currently sits in the second wild card spot, just a point behind both the Bruins and the Senators. The Maple Leafs also have a game in hand on the Bruins. The Senators will play Boston, the Rangers and Islanders to close out the season while the Leafs will play Tampa, Pittsburgh and Columbus. My opinion is the Bruins will finish in 3rd in the division and play the Maple Leafs in the first round, while the Sens will open up against the Capitals.
It’s an exciting time for the city of Boston having the B’s back in the postseason for the first time in three seasons and the Celtics potentially grabbing the number one seed in the East. With all due respect to the Celtics though, playoff hockey gives the TD Garden the best energy.