WILMINGTON, Mass. — The Boston Bruins really don’t have a whole lot to play for in their final nine games of the season. Many of the teams they’ll face during that stretch, however, will have a lot at stake.
The B’s will begin a four-game road trip on Saturday in Washington. All four of those games will come against teams that are fighting desperately for playoff spots.
Boston will travel to D.C., Philadelphia, Detroit and Toronto. Three of those teams began Friday with 80 points as part of a four-way tie for the two Eastern Conference wild card spots. The Flyers, who the Bruins will play Sunday, have 83 points and are occupying the third spot in the Metropolitan division.
So while the Bruins don’t have much to lose or gain over the next couple of weeks, they’re still going to get some stiff tests. That should, in theory at least, help them remained focus.
“I think it’s important for us,” Julien said after his team’s practice Friday. “We were talking about that this morning. This time of year, a lot of times, you’re kind of trying to find ways to motivate yourself, but there’s a lot to be motivated for here. Teams that we’re going to play against, the situation we’re in now, so there’s no reason for us to slack down or get lackadasical, complacent all that stuff. It’s just about staying on top of your game.”
The Bruins haven’t had any issues doing that lately, of course. Boston will begin the four-game road trip on a 14-game point streak with a 13-0-1 record over that stretch. They’ve been fantastic on the road, as well, having won seven road games in a row and posting at least a point in their last 14 games away from TD Garden.
It’s likely that one of the four games on the trip will serve as a playoff preview for the Bruins. The B’s currently hold the East’s top spot, which means they would get the lower-seeded wild-card team. That could easily be any one of those four teams they’ll take on during the trip.
“I guess it’s important for us because those are matchups we could see in the first round or second round whatever it is,” Bruins center Gregory Campbell said. “Those teams are playing really well now, too. It’s good for us to keep us on our toes, keep us sharp.”