Sunday’s result won’t alter who does and does not make the postseason, but there still are some big implications in the NHL’s regular-season finale.
The Boston Bruins will take on the Florida Panthers at TD Garden, with the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference on the line.
Boston sits one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning in the standings, and it must win if it want the top spot, as the Lightning hold the advantage in the tie-breaking regulation and overtime wins category, 48-46. A Bruins win Sunday means a first-round matchup with the New Jersey Devils, while a loss will result in facing the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Panthers already are out of contention for a wild-card spot, despite a valiant push at the end of the season.
The Bruins received encouraging news on the injury front, with Rick Nash, Riley Nash and Sean Kuraly all making progress toward being ready for the first game of the playoffs. However, they won’t play Sunday evening.
As such, the Bruins’ forward groups will remain the same from Saturday’s game, while the only defensive change will be Matt Grzelcyk sliding in on the blue line for Nick Holden.
Tuukka Rask will start in net for the Bruins and will be countered by Roberto Luongo.
Here are the projected lineups for both teams:
BOSTON BRUINS (50-19-12)
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk–David Krejci–David Backes
Tim Schaller–Noel Acciari–Tommy Wingels
Danton Heinen–Ryan Donato–Brian Gionta
Zdeno Chara–Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug–Kevan Miller
Matt Grzelcyk–Adam McQuaid
FLORIDA PANTHERS (43-30-8)
Evgenii Dadonov–Vincent Trocheck–Colton Sceviour
Jonathan Huberdeau–Jared McCann–Nick Bjugstad
Frank Vatrano–Henrik Borgstrom–Jamie McGinn
Micheal Haley–Derek MacKenzie–Maxim Mamin
Keith Yandle–Aaron Ekblad
Mike Matheson–Mark Pysyk
MacKenzie Weegar–Alexander Petrovic
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports
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