The Boston Bruins are headed to the Stanley Cup playoffs, but their season isn’t over yet.
Boston is 4-0-0 over its last four games, including a 7-3 shellacking of the Florida Panthers, scoring five goals in consecutive games.
The Black and Gold got some reinforcement back with the return of David Pastrnak, but went down another man after Sean Kuraly’s blocked shot resulted in a broken hand. The forward, who had been playing his best hockey of late, will miss at least four weeks after undergoing surgery.
But like they’ve done all season, the Bruins will continue with their “next man up” mentality with the playoffs on the horizon.
Boston has six games left in the regular season and begins its four-game week Monday night.
Let’s take a look at what’s on deck for the Bruins.
Monday, March 25 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday, March 27 vs. New York Rangers, 7:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, March 30 vs. Florida Panthers, 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, March 31 vs. Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. ET
What You Need To Know
The Tampa Bay Lightning clinched the President’s Trophy on March 18 and look to win the season series against Boston on Monday. The last time these two teams met, the B’s were without Pastrnak and came out with a 4-1 win. Both teams officially are in the playoffs and the Lightning will be the No. 1 team in the Atlantic Division, so bragging rights for the season series will be on the line.
The New York Rangers have lost three of their last four heading into their Monday matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins and have struggled this season with a 29-32-13 record. Despite occasional offensive ineptitude, the Rangers have had success against the B’s this year, winning both matchups and looking to make it a clean sweep.
The Florida Panthers also have lost three of their last four contests, including the 7-3 loss at the hands of the Bruins. Florida still is in the playoff hunt so will be hungry for a win. The Panthers are 1-2-0 against the Black and Gold this season and look to even the season series.
The Detroit Red Wings won’t make the postseason this year but have won their last three of four games ahead of their matchup with the San Jose Sharks on Monday. Like New York, Detroit has had success against Boston this season and will look to win the season series 3-1 with a third consecutive victory vs. the Bruins.
Who Bruins Need To Watch Out For
The Lightning are stacked with talent including Nikita Kucherov who leads the league in assists (83) and points (120). He had a two-goal game in his team’s 5-4 win over the Washington Capitals on March 20 but was held to just an assist in the two meetings against the Bruins this season. Brayden Point also has been a force for Tampa Bay this season and leads the way with 20 power-play goals.
Mike Hoffman has three goals against the B’s this season, while Jonathan Huberdeau tallied six points in three games this season when playing Boston. Hoffman has 35 goals on the season so the Black and Gold will need to find a way to stop him from finding the back of the net. Huberdeau has 59 assists and will look to continue his prior success against the Bruins.
Mika Zibanejad has three goals against Boston and also leads the Rangers with 67 points and has been a bright spot for a struggling Rangers team.
Tyler Bertuzzi has had success against the Black and Gold, notching two goals and an assist in the teams’ three meetings this year so Boston’s defense will need to find a way to shut him down. Dylan Larkin, who leads the team with 63 points, also will be a threat to the defense.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports
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