Bruins Focus: B’s Get Set To Face Desperate Teams As Playoff Push Intensifies

The playoffs are less than a month away and the Bruins are looking to extend their lead in the Atlantic Division.

Boston has a six-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning heading into its three-game week that begins Tuesday night. But the B’s will have to begin the week without the services of Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug as they both recover from upper-body injuries.

It won’t be an easy week by any means, as the red-hot Philadelphia Flyers look to continue their dominance while the Toronto Maple Leafs fight for their playoff lives.

Let’s take a look at the Bruins’ week ahead:

Tuesday, March 10 at Philadelphia Flyers
Friday, March 13 at Buffalo Sabres
Saturday, March 14 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

What You Need To Know
The Flyers are the NHL’s hottest team of late, winning their last nine games, good for the league’s longest active winning streak. Philly hasn’t lost consecutive games since the beginning of January. The Flyers also have found a lot of success at Wells Fargo Center, compiling a 25-5-4 record going into Tuesday’s bout with Boston, while only allowing 19 first-period goals. But their 3-1 win over the Sabres on Saturday was not an easy one, as the team was outshot by Buffalo 39-24.

The Sabres, meanwhile, are in a bit of a rut, losing six of their last seven games. The six-game skid did come to an end Monday night when Buffalo defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2. It was the first time the team scored more than two goals in its previous seven games. Those six straight losses, though, certainly won’t help Buffalo’s playoff chances, as it only inched the team closer to a ninth straight year of not reaching the playoffs. And welcoming the Bruins, who potentially could have 100 points by Friday, won’t be an easy matchup for a struggling team.

It’s always a playoff-like atmosphere when Toronto and Boston get together. And Saturday likely will be no different. Toronto is looking to put its horrendous 0-3 West Coast road trip behind it and build some ground ahead of the Florida Panthers for third place in the Atlantic Division. Some good news for the Maple Leafs, though, is they should have defenseman Morgan Rielly back in their lineup. He’s slated to return Monday after being out since Jan. 12 with a fractured foot.

Who Bruins Need To Watch Out For
Carter Hart has been a force in net for the Flyers and a big reason why they’ve won nine straight games. He also became first goalie in NHL history to have multiple win streaks of seven games before they turn 22, per NHL Public Relations. He stopped 38 of the Flyers’ 39 shots Saturday, and he seems to be at his best when facing an abundance of shots. The goalie is 3-0-1 in four games when he’s faced at least 35.

Linus Ullmark made his return between the pipes Monday against the Capitals and stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced. Ullmark was out of action since Jan. 28 with a leg injury but may provide some help to the struggling Buffalo team. Especially since Carter Hutton and Jonas Johansson have a combined save percentage of .902 and are 7-10-1 in Linus’ absence. And while Ullmark won’t solve the offensive issues the Sabres have faced, he certainly will provide a boost to them if he can make the timely stops Buffalo needs.

Auston Matthews is just two goals behind David Pastrnak for the league lead with both poised to reach the 50-goal mark before the regular season ends. And with the Maple Leafs’ playoff chances on the line, it’s fair to assume Matthews will step up his game and get to the front of the net in order to provide more chances for Toronto.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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