The Bruins are about to start a very, very important stretch.
This slate of games isn’t your typical “important” stretch, per se. The B’s aren’t facing the league’s top teams over the next two weeks or anything like that. In fact, they’re not really going to face anyone they’ll be jockeying for position with when it comes to playoff positioning. That’s exactly the point, though.
The Bruins are about to begin a nine-game run against some of the league’s worst teams. There are points to be had right now, and with the Bruins reeling physically the way they are right now, it’s a perfect time to take on some of the NHL’s also-rans.
The nine-game stretch begins Tuesday night when the Bruins take on the Calgary Flames at TD Garden. It marks the Bruins’ first home game in 10 days, their first since the Pittsburgh game, and Boston must use Tuesday’s game as a launching pad. Starting with the Flames, the Bruins’ next nine games feature teams who are outside of the playoff picture at the moment.
Here are the club’s next nine games and the records of those teams (as of Tuesday afternoon).
Dec. 17 versus Calgary (13-15-5, 31 points)
Dec. 19 at Buffalo (7-23-3, 17 points)
Dec. 21 versus Buffalo (7-23-3, 17 points)
Dec. 23 at Nashville (16-14-3, 35 points)
Dec. 27 versus Ottawa (14-15-6, 34 points)
Dec. 28 at Ottawa (14-15-6, 34 points)
Dec. 31 versus New York Islanders (9-19-6, 24 points)
Jan. 1 versus Nashville (16-14-3, 35 points)
That list of teams certainly won’t scare anyone, especially a top-tier team like the Bruins. Those are nine games that one could legitimately argue that should all be won by the Bruins. That might be asking a bit much, especially with a pair of back-to-backs with travel mixed in, but it will be a pretty big disappointment if the Bruins can’t earn, say, 14 of the possible 18 points up for grabs.
The timing of this the lull in the schedule could prove to be very valuable as well. The Bruins’ overall health — or general lack thereof — right now is staggering. The fact that they won’t necessarily be tested by any of the league’s contenders over that time should help, even if in the slightest. Additionally, the Bruins should be able to take advantage of the league-wide three-day Christmas layoff Dec. 24-26. With the way things are going for the B’s, it would be a minor miracle if they’re able to avoid any further injuries before what will surely be a welcomed three-day break.
This information means nothing, of course, if the Bruins aren’t able to take advantage of what lies ahead. If they can roll through this stretch, though, they’ll be in an even better position than they are right now, which is no small statement.