Editor’s Note: Dominic Tiano has written this post which does a great job of laying out where things stand as the 2016-17 NHL season winds down for your Black and Gold.
Well, the Boston Bruins are down to six games remaining in the 2016-2017 National Hockey League Season and we will try and provide you with the possibilities.
Let’s begin by looking at the remaining schedule
Vs Florida (1st game of back-to-back)
At Chicago (2nd game of back-to-back)
The only situations for the Bruins that is set is stone are: Mathematically none of New Jersey, Detroit and Buffalo can catch the Bruins. On the other hand, the Bruins can not mathematically catch the top 4 Metropolitan Division teams, which, when it comes to the wild Card position, they can only challenge for the second Wild Card, the position they currently hold – and that means a first-round matchup versus the first-place Metro Team.
Let’s stay with the Wild Card spot for now before we break down the Atlantic Division possibilities.
The Bruins currently hold a 3-point lead over Tampa Bay, with the Lightning holding a game in hand. And the have a head-to-head matchup. Should Tampa win their remaining 7 games (including the game versus the Bruins) in any fashion, they would finish in the wild Card and the Bruins would be on the outside looking in, even if they win their 5 other remaining games. On the other hand, if the Bruins beat the Lightning in the head-to-head matchup in regulation or overtime, and Tampa wins their other six games, the Bruins would need 7 points in their other 5 games to clinch the Wild Card. That would leave the teams tied and the Bruins will have already clinched the tie breaker. In fact, one more regulation win and the Bruins will have clinched the tie breaker versus Tampa with any possible scenario remaining.
Tampa’s remaining schedule
Vs Montreal (1st game of back-to-back)
Vs Dallas (2nd game of back-to-back)
At Toronto (1st game of back-to-back)
At Montreal (2nd game of back-to-back)
Next up is the Islanders who sit 4 points back with a game in hand. Should the Islanders win their 7 remaining games in regulation or overtime, the Bruins would have to win 5 of their 6 remaining games and only one of those five would have to come in regulation or overtime as the Bruins would hold the tie breaker. The Bruins would just have to win one remaining game in regulation or overtime to hold the tie breaker versus the Islander in any other scenario.
Islanders remaining schedule
At Philadelphia (1st game of back-to-back)
Vs New Jersey (2nd game of back-to-back)
At New Jersey (1st game of back-to-back)
Vs Ottawa (2nd game of back-to-back)
Next up is Carolina who also sit 4 points back with a game in hand. The high-flying Canes with no regulation losses (8-0-4) in their last 12 are climbing fast. Same situation as the Islanders scenario. Because the season series is tied the Bruins hold a huge margin in goals differential – +28 higher than the Canes, the Bruins need just one regulation or overtime win to clinch the tie breaker with the Canes. The key here is the Canes and Islanders have a head-to-head matchup and that means one team is giving up an ROW, and thus the Bruins not needing an ROW to clinch the tie breaker over the team that misses out on it.
Carolina’s remaining schedule
Vs Dallas (1st game of back-to-back)
At Pittsburgh (2nd game of back-to-back)
Vs St Louis (1st game of back-to-back)
At Philadelphia (2nd game of back-to-back)
Next up are Philadelphia and Florida and while not mathematically out of it, are virtually done.
So, let’s look at the Atlantic
The Bruins could mathematically catch Montreal for first place, but realistically, not a chance.
Ottawa sits 5 points up with a game in hand. If they lose that game in hand, and the Bruins can beat them in regulation, and then this becomes interesting. But it could also be decided well before the Bruins face them. If the Sens win the game in hand, then it’s pretty much lights out. But, as we saw last year, (and in 2015, when Ottawa rode Andrew Hammond to a playoff spot) anything can happen
Ottawa’s remaining schedule
At Detroit (1st game of back-to-back)
Vs Detroit (2nd game of back-to-back)
Vs Rangers (1st game of back-to-back)
At Islanders (2nd game of back-to-back)
Finally, we have the Leafs, one point up with a game in hand. Compare their remaining schedule to the Bruins and pick the one you’d prefer
At Buffalo (1st game of back-to-back)
Vs Washington (2nd game of back-to-back)
Vs Tampa Bay
Vs Pittsburgh (1st game of back-to-back)
Vs Columbus (2nd game of back-to-back)
The key here, if they end up tied is for the Bruins to remain ahead in ROW’s – currently 38-35 for the Bruins since the Leafs hold the second tie-breaker which is head to head meetings which is held by the Leafs. In the end, I think it takes 94 points to get into the playoffs. That means 3-3-1 for the Leafs in their final 7 games.